Networking Tips #17 Offline vs Online

These days it's just as easy to network online as it is offline.  In fact it's probably easier:
- you don't need to leave your office
- you don't need to get dressed up
- you don't need to travel in order to network
- you get to drink your own coffee
- it's cheaper
- it saves time

Online networking has a great advantage - not only for the above reasons but also in that it enables you to reach a far wider audience than you can with traditional face-to-face networking.

You also get to 'network' or at least connect with friends of friends, colleagues of colleagues more quickly and easily than you can offline.

If you're the shy, retiring type - online networking maybe less intimidating than entering a room full of strangers.

However, many of the tips that I've mentioned for those face-to-face meetings apply just as much to your online networking.

Apply as much time and effort to building a relationship with your online network as you would offline.

Meet up offline with your online network.  Many 'online' groups also arrange 'offline' meetings, so you get to meet in the real world.  While you might make a connection and even have lengthy conversations with people virtually, it's always good to put a face to a name in the real world.

Initial introductions can be made online which makes you feel as if you already know them when you get to meet them in person and realise it's the first time you've actually met.

Connect with the people you meet offline in the online world too - on Twitter and LinkedIn or the social networks you both frequent.  Continue conversations you've started offline.

Use the method of networking which works best for you and your business but a good mix of the two can present great opportunities.

Which do you prefer and where do you spend most of your networking time?

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

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