Offline Networking in the Digital Age

Offline Networking As Important As Ever

Modern society has evolved in many regards, especially in how we interact with each other. A significant amount of these interactions now happen in digital social spaces than real ones. Today, I’d like to talk about the role that ‘old-school’ networking still plays in building relationships.

I premise this discussion with a note that I am a champion of both forms of networking. Digital spaces are revolutionary and have brought people at great distances together. My focus will only be on the strengths of face-to-face meetings/interactions.

So, offline networking. A lot of you, especially younger people, might be wondering why Angie is so bent on this relic of the past. To these young whippersnappers, I say: Read on.

Building Trust Through Offline Networking

When was the last time you trusted a random person on the internet? In fact, isn’t the first advice given to anyone on online social media to ignore and not trust anything a stranger tells you? Just how much of a relationship do you have with someone you’ve only interacted with in Twitter DMs?
Professional networking, similarly, can only go so far to building your relationships if they’re limited to online interactions. Face-to-face meetings help develop a higher level of trust among participants – positive body language plays a great role in helping put nervous people at ease. Similarly, interacting in the same physical space (over a coffee, at a professional dinner or even a mixer of sorts) is a great ice-breaker. Shared experiences always do leave a lasting memory, what better way to starting building a repertoire with your network?

If you’re a seasoned professional with the wisdom of experience to share, offline networking can help you build trust with those who wish to seek your advice but would hesitate to reach out to you directly. By giving off an approachable vibe, perhaps giving a little impromptu talk to a group of people, you can embed that necessary bit of trust in younger professionals to reach out and network with you and others at your position. They’d go on to do it when they reach your place in their careers, and continue the cycle of positive networking!

If You’re a Giver, Don’t Burn Yourself Out

A natural consequence of purposeful networking is the asking and giving of advice. For experienced professionals, especially those who actively network, it can soon become an overwhelming practice. Giving advice is great, it’s what makes the world turn, but when your network constantly reaches out for advice on anything from spreadsheet optimization to career planning, it can lead to the sort of burnout that makes you want to stop networking. It may also negatively impact your health!
Learning to say no is never easy, especially if you’re worried about coming off as impolite. It is, however, essential. Let your principles guide you: Develop a strategy that lets you identify scenarios where you say yes and those where you say no. Stick to this guideline and maintain your sanity!
The thing about networking is, it’s not a transactional relationship. You don’t go into it expecting rewards, or even gratitude. You do it because you believe in ‘networking karma’. That said, you are only human and even the most generous of givers can find themselves overwhelmed at times. That’s why it is important to set up boundaries that help you prevent burnout and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and your network.
As this week’s club sandwich focuses on offline networking, I thought I’d bring your attention to two excellent opportunities to engage in said networking: The RockMeRetreat! As you know, I’ll be offering the RockMeRetreat once this year starting the 21st of November.

If you’re feeling that you’re unable to make a breakthrough in your career, that your aspirations to become a Rockstar in your field are going unfulfilled, then the RockMeRetreat is just the impetus you need to make your mark. It’s a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany, where you will get to network with professionals and Leaders and gain essential advice and knowledge on kickstarting your career into high gear again!

You really have no excuse to not sign up for this opportunity! Email me for a conversation.

Kind regards,
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you mention anything relevant on social media, don’t forget to tag @angieweinberger

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