Virtual networking is fine – in-person is still best

Virtual networking is fine – in-person is still best

I’m trying to navigate this virtual world of referrals called LinkedIN and e-mail marketing and I don’t like it very much. I will do it because I have to, but I much prefer the good old-fashioned chamber meeting.
For example, today I attended the Greater Mooresville Chamber of Commerce member meeting like I have almost every month for the last 5 years. The routine was what you would expect if you are a regular there.
Everyone mingled, we said the Pledge of Allegiance and then we did introductions. All 60 of the people in the room stood one at a time and said their name and business. I thought nothing of it.
The speaker, Brad Coffing, who is a research analyst for MIBOR, was a bit surprised by our introductions practice.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Coffing said. “I love it because it really demonstrates the variety of businesses and people who are in the room.”
He’s right, it is a great practice and it’s one I have taken for granted for a long time.
I have always taken pride in knowing everyone in the room and if I don’t, introducing myself. There isn’t always time to get to people before or after a meeting like this.
Knowing who the people are that I haven’t met gives me a chance to reach out to them later. Doing this has led to a lot of great relationships – both business and personal.
The response I get from electronic introductions is a bit colder than those I get from the Mooresville chamber. People online are wary because there are a lot of people out there looking to take advantage of them. They are concerned that it’s just a sales call. It’s hard to know if the person approaching you has an agenda.
I get it. I have all these same concerns when I get that new connection and a message immediately asking me if I need any help getting leads. I’ve been sold systems and burned by systems, wasted money and time when all I really wanted was a cup of coffee and to get to know someone.
Business will take care of itself if you build the relationships and nothing builds relationships like a good conversation over coffee.

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