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Networking

by Brian MacAuley on 18th February 2020

Face to Face Networking is Still Alive and Well in Mid Ulster!

There’s no doubt that recent years have seen a massive shift in networking trends from the traditional face to face, business card swapping events most of Generation X and early millennials will be familiar with, to social networking online through sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But does traditional networking still have a place in building businesses today?

Absolutely! While social media has created global networks and a business environment where countless businesses need never meet a customer face to face, that doesn’t mean that face to face networking is null and void. Rather it still has countless benefits and should be done as often as possible and here are just some reasons why:

Your audience will hear everything you say. Social media algorithms mean that only around 10% of your followers will ever see what you post but when you are in front of an engaged audience you can know that they have heard your message and you can see and hear their response in real time. That’s not to say you should only speak in face to face situations but rather you can build relationships through online platforms like Bizmerang and Mums at Work in Mid Ulster and pepper Face to Face meeting and networking events to further cement the online relationship.

You can build real credibility. We’ve all seen them – the people who are really good at creating an online presence, building themselves up as an expert or influencer but really, they don’t have the skills or expertise to which they profess. This means that lots of customers view what they see online with suspicion and so it takes a long time to build trust. But live engagement is different. If you are attending a conference or event there is almost an assumption that you belong there, so, instead of spending your time convincing people that you are worthy of theirs, you can just jump right in to sharing your ideas, knowledge and expertise.
The effort helps to build long term relationships. Building long term relationships depends on face to face contact. One reason for this is the fact that it takes time and effort to be physically present. Customers and clients will appreciate you calling to their office or meeting them for lunch because you took the time out of your schedule to make them important, you organised your transport there and most likely you’ve invested some cash – maybe you’ve bought lunch for example. There are lots of opportunities to meet clients on a face to face basis in Mid Ulster whether it’s having lunch in Door Step, booking a meeting room in The Hive or attending a networking event in Dungannon Enterprise Centre.

You can use non-verbal communication to build a positive impression. There are so many things that you can see and experience in person that you simply can’t online. When you are live and in person, you can use body language, tone of voice and other elements of communication to make the best possible impression on your audience. And better yet, you can practice these ahead of time. At the same time, you’ll be in a much better position to get a read on the people you’re with. You’ll be able to tell, who’s distracted, making eye contact and who’s most attentive to your message. This will help you to tweak your message for future meetings.
So, yes, face to face networking is very much alive and kicking for businesses in Mid Ulster and brings benefits such as building credibility, establishing long term relationship and using more than just spoken communication. Speak to our business advisors on 028 87 723 489 to find out about networking opportunities in Mid Ulster.

Brian MacAuley
About Brian MacAuley
Brian has been at the helm of Dungannon Enterprise Centre for 25 years, keeping the wheels turning smoothly on a day to day basis.

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