3 Reasons Why In-Person Networking Matters

  Posted on May 25, 2016

  Written by Morgan O'Rourke

In-Person Networking We live in a competitive digital age that’s growing in complexity. How we connect with people today is exceptionally different than how we connected and communicated just 10 years ago.

With social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and a plethora of news outlets, we can connect with a staggering number of people and gather news at an alarming rate. With so much digital shuffle, the importance of face-to-face communication and personal relationships is practically lost.

But did you know that 60-80% of jobs are found through personal relationships, according to John Bennett, director of the Master of Science at the McColl School of Business?

As you forge your professional path at Ohio Business College and establish a successful career, it’s essential you make meaningful relationships and connections inside and outside of your professional field.

Here are three reasons why making face-to-face, professional relationships matter in an increasingly digital world:

1. Face-to-face encounters are more impactful.

According to Deborah Shane at Small Business Trends, the power of face-to-face, human interaction accelerates relationship building. In less than 15 minutes, you can learn more about a person, and they about you, than in six months online.

Rob Asghar, a contributor at Forbes, argues that “old school ‘face-to-face’ is still the only way to build your career.” He states that face-time has the maximum impact in our careers and all of our networks of relationships because it’s an intimate encounter.

Face-to-face communication and networking allows potential employers, investors, colleagues, and managers to understand the real you, and give you a chance to highlight what sets you apart from the masses.

2. Nonverbal communication conveys a lot.

When you rely on digital communication – like email and social media – and disregard face-to-face communication, you’re neglecting a vital component to relationship building: nonverbal communication.

HelpGuide.org explains that “the way you listen, look, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening.”

Professional and personal relationships rely extensively on trust, and nonverbal signals can solidify or dissolve a relationship. According to HelpGuide.org, when nonverbal signals match the words being said, trust, clarity, and rapport is increased. When nonverbal signals don’t align with the words being said, tension, mistrust, and confusion begins to grow.

3. Empathy matters.

Along with nonverbal cues, digital communication lacks strong empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Sarah Lang, a contributor on Recruiter.com, states that “empathy is one of the most important components of friendship,” but when you’re communicating with strangers (like potential employers and colleagues) it can be hard for them to feel empathetic toward you.

Which brings us back to why face-to-face communication is so important. When you have the attention of someone, make sure your interaction is impactful, your nonverbal cues are appropriate, and you leave a lasting impression. People will remember how you made them feel.
It’s important to note that this article’s goal is not to invalidate all social and digital communication. We believe that every professional should utilize social platforms like LinkedIn (find seven tips to boost your professional network on LinkedIn) to connect and engage with professionals.

However, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication. Take your OBC education and career further by networking with like-minded professionals in-person.