We live in a society that values online interactions above face-to-face communication. This makes it easy for job seekers to handle their job searches and networking right over the Internet. But as an executive, in-person networking is not a lost art form. In fact, in many ways it's still more important than networking online. Here are a few reasons that this is true :
Communication Flows More Smoothly Face-to-Face
When you're in the midst of a face-to-face networking lunch with a professional buddy, mentor, or board member, it's usually easier to fully express yourself this way than when trying to have the same type of meeting online.
Back-and-forth exchanges have always been more authentic when held in person. But the fact that you don't have to wait minutes, hours, or even days to hear back from the person you're communicating with allows you to promptly and succinctly deliver your message every time.
Body Language Tells More of Your Story
As you already know, charisma is a major selling point when trying to win over the person you are networking with. And while creativity can help your personality shine via online communications (blog entries, e-mails, tweets, etc.), it's impossible to hear voice inflections, see your winning smile, or even feel your firm handshake over the Internet.
Misunderstandings Are Often Averted In Person
We've all been there. We've received an e-mail that appeared to be somewhat dry, or maybe we responded to a post and then asked ourselves, "Did that come off the way I intended" Oftentimes, it's difficult to fully express yourself through written communication, even with italics, all caps, exclamation points, and more. Many times, an arm squeeze or quick smile can clear up confusion, and of course, this cannot be done over the Internet.
Networking in person is something you should always aim for as an executive. In fact, your only excuse for not doing so should be that you live out of town and simply cannot arrange a meeting. If you can at all, it's important to always try to do as much offline networking at social functions, over lunch, and even in an elevator, as you possibly can to make the lasting impressions needed to secure a job.