Who would have thought 2 years ago that we would be asking ourselves ‘do I want to return to Face to Face Networking’? But the reality is that’s exactly what’s happening.
I think that there are three camps out there.
You’ve got camp 1 which are the people that are all zoomed out and can’t wait to get back out there and see actual real-life people.
You’ve then got camp 2 which are the complete opposite and are just not ready to get back out there yet. They are quite happy networking from the comfort of their own home.
Finally, you have camp 3. These are the people who like the online networking but also want to try and get out there. So, they take advantage of the newfound technology and have the best of both worlds. Raining outside?? Let’s log on. Sunny and the meeting is at a convenient location? Let’s get out there.
If you’ve found that you’ve asked, ‘Do I want to return to Face to Face Networking?’ maybe have a think about the pros and cons.
Meeting a real-life person – Some people say that there’s nothing like meeting somebody face to face. That initial first impression of somebody. Getting to read their expressions and body language. Can you get that same feel over a computer screen? Everybody has their own opinion on this so what’s yours?
Conversation – When you walk into the room if you see somebody that you specifically want to talk to, then you can go right over and start a conversation. Of course, this is possible online too however it would involve a message to the meeting host to open a room or organising a 1-2-1 at a later date. Still perfectly achievable though. And the fact is that 1-2-1’s are encouraged following a face to face meeting too.
Getting out and about – One of the great things about Face to Face Networking is getting out and about. Going to different venues, drinking posh coffee (if your lucky) and if you’re even luckier you might get a biscuit too!
Travelling – Obviously to some people this is one of the biggest cons. While we’ve all been zooming for the last 18 months, we knew that we could log on 5 minutes before the meeting and we’d be finished by 5 minutes after the scheduled time. Perfect. An hour’s meeting would be an hour.
Face to face can add on quite a lot of time to the meeting depending on how local or not the meeting is. It ends up taking more time out of your day.
Cost – Going back Face to Face is also incurring costs. You now have to take into consideration the extra fuel cost. You also need to think about the cost of your ‘posh coffee’ or is this included as part of the event? Is it a networking event based around a meal so then you’re paying for a meal too? Is the event itself charging to be a member now that its back face to face whereas online it was free? All these costs need to be considered.
Considering all of the above, only you can make the decision as to which you are most comfortable with. At the end of the day there is no right or wrong way.
You may feel that continuing online is the way to go for you personally. It’s worked for the last 18 months so why change it. It may be the fact that you can still have conversations and meet people from your dining room table so why are you going to go out in the freezing cold?
You may be from camp 1 and sitting in front of a screen is just not working for you anymore. You actually started not going to the meetings as you just couldn’t bring yourself to do it. Great. Get out there and meet those people.
Whichever camp you are is absolutely fine. Do what works for you until it stops working and then, well change it.