Some people define networking as developing and using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason for the initial contact. When starting to network, face to face meetings are extremely important. One can never underestimate human interaction and in person communication. If you have ever been on the bad side of cyber miscommunication, you will agree that faster is not always better.
One thing that cannot be seen over email or the telephone is body language. Just like tone of voice cannot be heard over a text message. Being in front of someone, face to face, is the best way to feel someone out and see whether they are genuine or not. It’s not just how the words come out of your mouth, but also the facial expressions and body posture that goes along with it. Make sure that these things are matching the words that are coming out of your mouth, otherwise the authenticity of the conversation is questioned.
Although some people believe that faster is better, that thought is false more often than not. Most of the time miscommunication happens when people are in a hurry and attempting to get things done as soon as possible. Face to face networking is way more efficient than trying to meet new people over the phone or email. When networking in person, one is able to get their point across easier, meanwhile showing how passionate and eager he/she is about what the topic of conversation is at the moment.
Too many things get mixed up over communicating through technology. We have all gotten those emails that begin with “Just to clarify…”. Yes, that might be said in person, but it seems to happen entirely too often when the face to face communication is taken out of the mix. Meeting in person and talking to an actual person helps with clarification tenfold. There is no better way to “clear something up” than to discuss it in person! This applies especially to networking in regards to what you do, where you work, what you are looking to do, etc. Do not underestimate the power of clarifying things in person.
There does not always have to be an agenda when networking. Some people make the mistake of only networking when they are looking for a job. In this case, most people can sense when people are doing that and will take precautions to stay away from those people. Making sure to ask about how they got to where they are now or their experiences that led up to the position that has currently given them more confidence. This shows that you are just trying to learn and make connections opposed to get something out of them.