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Five Reasons to Network In-Person

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In her first UK200Group blog post, Samantha Armstrong, Marketing Executive at Knill James Chartered Accountants discusses the benefits of face to face networking.

Samantha Armstrong
Everyone knows that networking allows businesses to share knowledge, generate potential opportunities, make important connections and raise their profile.

Online and digital networking techniques are now highly prevalent, convenient, in the most part free to use, quick to access and incredibly popular among business leaders.

LinkedIn, is the largest internet-based professional network in the world, with over 500 million users in more than 200 countries. Services such as Skype and Google Hangouts, which utilise live video streaming, allow business leaders to meet and interact in real time without leaving their desks.

Digital collaboration and networking using tools such as these and other social media platforms is highly effective, saving time and money. It is particularly useful when dealing with companies based abroad. However, there isn’t a single technology that will replace the power of in-person relationship building.

Face-to-face networking is vital for businesses, both large and small, if they are to succeed in today’s difficult economic climate, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its implications to UK trade. Here’s why:

1. Build meaningful relationships:
It is far easier to build relationships face-to-face than it is from behind a screen. Networking in person means business people can present a human face to their companies, generate rapport and synergy with others, showcase their personalities and increase their credibility at the same time. Their physical presence earns recognition, increasing their business’ profile.

2. Body language:
When networking in-person, business people can learn just as much from somebody’s mannerisms and body language as they can from what that person is saying. They can hear tone of voice, see facial expressions and observe gestures. This is difficult to see digitally.

3. Avoid misunderstandings:
Meeting in-person is the best way to avoid misunderstandings. It eliminates the risk of somebody misinterpreting a LinkedIn post or message and reacting adversely to it. If there is a misunderstanding, it can be instantly clarified without potentially damaging repercussions online.

4. Meet different people:
Business leaders and their employees who meet in person can work the room, consequently meeting a much wider variety of people than online. Travelling to and attending a networking meeting in a local venue may take longer on the day than visiting a Google Hangout, but it is a far more effective use of their valuable time.

5. Have fun!:
Sociability is hugely important when building business networks and it is far easier to share a joke or enjoy a group conversation in person than it is online.

At Knill James we attend in-person whenever we can at many great networking and social events at a regional level. This not only helps create a recognisable presence in business circles, but also within our local community, showing support for local causes and organisations.

A personal touch still goes a long way to make a lasting impression. Where the rapid increase in digital communication is something to embrace, we feel that true ‘face time’ is still vitally important to understand your client’s needs.



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