virtual networking showed by someone looking at a screen of others vs in person networking - showed by four people cheers-ing their coffee

Virtual Networking vs In-Person Networking: Which is Best for You?

Virtual Networking vs In-Person Networking: Which is Best for You?

We’re lucky to be living in the digital age, where even a global pandemic can’t get in the way of networking! People from all over have jumped onto platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, in order to connect with one another through virtual networking. Now that the lockdowns are over and many businesses have gone back to the office, how do people that are self-employed or work from home maintain that connection with others? 

Business Networking is one way to connect with others, while having a productive, business focus. There are many ways to network your business from social media to trade shows to attending business networking groups, either virtually or in-person. But how do you decide whether to attend a virtual networking group or an in-person one? 

In this article, we’ve explored the pros and cons of virtual and in-person networking – so you can decide if you prefer networking virtually, face-to-face, or a combination of both. 

Virtual Networking Groups  

One of the silver linings of the pandemic was that it caused a lot of networking organisations to experiment with technology and move online. While most have resumed in-person meetings, there are many that have kept an aspect of virtual networking. 

Online networking is a great way to connect with others, without having to leave the comfort of your own home or office. So, if you’re a busy person, virtual networking is much more convenient. Just log on for the hour and then log off and get back to work. No time wasted sitting in traffic, just instant connection. You can even network in your pyjamas! 

Not only does virtual networking save you time, it’s also more cost effective. Attending networking groups can have hidden costs, and over a year they can begin to add up. With virtual networking there’s no need to pay for the likes of childcare, transport, parking, coffee or breakfast. 

Due to the nature of in-person groups, they support businesses within a certain geographic area. However, because of the nature of a virtual group, they’re often more open to people from other areas. So, you get to network with people from all over the country. While it’s great to get support from people locally, you never know where your next sale or client is going to come from, so why not get to know people from all over? 

All that aside, many people still prefer to network in person. 

In-Person Networking 

During the pandemic, when we moved our groups online, we noticed that many people missed meeting in person. They liked being in the same room, looking each other in the eye, shaking each other’s hands, and having more natural conversations.  

Sitting behind a screen to network can be a challenge for people. They often find that the physical barrier of a screen creates a mental barrier, making it harder to connect deeply with each other. Being able to interact with and react to people face-to-face can help to show your personality in a more natural way, which makes people feel at ease.  

Meeting with others face-to-face also often leads to clearer communication. You get to see the whole picture, so to speak, rather than just a little face in the corner of your screen. Being able to read someone’s body language is an integral part of communicating. Meeting in-person also means that there’s no audio lag or cut-outs when multiple people are talking, so conversation flows easier and more naturally.  

There are benefits in attending both virtual and in-person networking meetings. You can make genuine, quality connections with other businesspeople, build your business, and get support on your journey either way. Virtual networking is often more convenient, while in-person networking is more natural.  

Regardless of the pros and cons, networking is an essential part of building your business. To figure out what works best for you and your business, the most important step is to start. And, whether you end up choosing to network virtually or in-person, you’re bound to find something that works for you. 

Want to grow your business through networking? We have both virtual and face-to-face options.

Contact us today to find a group to visit! 

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