I read a good article recently on the importance of meeting offline from René Siegel. It was featured on Inc.Com and headlined '5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person'. She highlighted the kinds of things you learn from an in person meeting that you can’t from a virtual or online one.
When you meet in person your communication involves much more than the words exchanged. Your eyes and body language reveal much more than words on a screen. The real reason to meet in person is because this is so important in building trust.
Most Word of Mouth influence takes place offline and trust is at the heart of this. To be effective in your business networking you need others to be your Word of Mouth Advocates. That involves building relationships with people who trust you enough to refer and recommend you. Trusting others enough to refer and recommend them often comes first. These relationships are built by real life two way interaction. They start with conversations which involve as much listening as talking. They grow by agreeing to do things, following up on these commitments and reviewing things. They continue to grow by agreeing to do more, following up on these commitments and reviewing regularly. Online communication has a part to play, but offline is where you really get to do this and build trust.
Are you spending enough time meeting in person with the right people for your business networking to be effective?