3 Ideas to Combine Online and Offline Networking

3 Ideas to Combine Online and Offline Networking

By Thomas Kupferschmied   Nowadays, most people interact with their contacts both online and offline. However, only few of them have reached a balance that grants effectiveness. As a social media influencer with an active offline presence, I believe I have learned how to combine both dimensions. Here are three ideas for you to achieve this too.   Make a plan In a world of infinite opportunities, networking needs a strategy too. The key for balancing online and offline networking is considering both dimensions while setting your goals and creating your action plan. Which are your target people? On which platforms can you find them online, and in which environments can you encounter them offline? By the way, a lot of communities live on both channels – Meetups, Tweetups, InterNations and numerous Facebook groups. Make sure you take advantage of these overlaps in your strategy.   Nurture the same relationship both online and offline As I always tell my clients, in order to raise awareness your brand needs to be communicated through at least five channels – for instance, website, social media, business card, talks and one-on-one consulting. Networking works similarly: if you manage to interact with a person both online and offline, your rapport will be stronger. Therefore, if you encounter someone at an event, follow up on social media. If you interact with somebody interesting online, meet up with them for coffee. If they don’t live in your town, have a Skype chat with them.   Use convergence Convergence means attending an offline event and posting live about it using hashtags. Tweetups are the perfect example, but you can practice convergence at any event you attend. Hashtags play a fundamental role in this phenomenon. Thanks to them, I met so many interesting people that...

Strategise your networking for 2016

Feel your need to become more strategic in your networking efforts? Relationship management system Contactually argues you should make networking strategy one of your New Year’s resolutions. In a recent webinar, CEO Zvi Band presented a powerful roadmap to strategise your relationships in 2016. This action plan is composed of three steps, each one driven by a question you want to ask yourself.   1) What are my goals? What is it you wish to achieve through networking this year? You probably have several goals, in different areas of your life. Write them all down, and then look at them: which ones have priority? Make sure you don’t choose more than two or three goals, as each one of them will involve a whole project. I recommend two: one in your career, one in your private life. Lastly, make sure the goals you set follow the SMART criteria.   2) What kind of people can get me there? Serendipity is extremely powerful in networking, but when it comes to achieving specific goals we need targeted measures. So let’s get analytical: what kind of people can help you attain that goal? Say you wish to double your business as a graphic designer for small-sized enterprises. The categories of people that will benefit you will be for instance your existing customers (who can refer you), other marketing and communications professionals (who can ask you to take care of design in multidisciplinary projects) and entrepreneurs (your potential clients).   3) Who do I already know from this category? Now, for every group you have identified list ten to twenty people you already know....

Networking on a budget

Even if you don’t live in one the most expensive cities on earth, like I do, you probably still find networking pricey. And it can be! However, as much as I will always argue that we should invest not just time but also money in networking, I also developed a few tricks to limit expenses. Here are four of them.   Drinks instead of food Keith Ferrazzi, one of the greatest networking theorists, invites us to “Never Eat Alone”. However, as uniting as food can be, it’s not indispensable for connecting with people. Drinks, especially coffee, are more affordable, and still grant enough time for deep conversations. Also, you can have them at any time of the day, which allows for flexibility in scheduling.   Host gatherings If you manage to bring a certain amount of people to a venue, its manager will be grateful to you, and you probably won’t have to pay for your drink. Besides, if your guests are satisfied with the event you organized, they will want to thank you by buying you a drink. Call it networking karma!   Become a regular guest Combine the two above techniques with loyalty to a handful of venues, and benefits will be even greater. If you frequently bring in people, you can ask cafés and restaurants for discounts, or even a cut on proceeds. This way, you will not only save on your drinks: you will also start making money! By the way, have you been wondering how you can actively monetise your broad network? Very practical advice is coming soon, so stay tuned!   Get invited...

The high art of the follow up

So you’ve met an amazing person at a networking event, or even just at the tram stop. You connected with them on a deep level in just a few minutes, and you even exchanged business cards. Yet it will all be wasted time if you don’t follow up. But it will also be a missed opportunity if you don’t keep in touch the right way. So let’s discover the high art of the follow up through three simple techniques.   Add value Don’t just reach out for the sake of it – by just writing, for instance, “Hey, how’s it going?”. This way, you are basically saying “I’m here: entertain me”. We don’t want to sound needy, nor do we want to be needy in the first place! We are people who can add value to other people’s lives. So send your new contact an article or a book they could be interested in, invite them to an event you’re attending, or, my favourite, introduce them to your network. For details about these techniques, see our article “4 ways to add value to your network”.   Meet up Staying in touch virtually is inevitable nowadays, but it’s not enough. I would even argue that remote communication should be banned as the only connection means if you and your contact live in the same town! Would you dare to even try to compare reading a plain three-line email to exploring someone’s facial expression, body language and use of space, while sipping on your cappuccino on a sunny square? And, networking wise, interacting offline is not only more enjoyable, but also more effective, as...

3 time management ideas for offline networking

Little time, but don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities that offline networking offers? Here are three techniques for you to apply.   Combine gatherings Have three coffee invitations and just one hour to invest? Gather your three contacts around the same table. They don’t know each other? Even better! If they are as good networkers as you are, they will appreciate. Another scenario is you being invited to an event and your contact having time only that very evening. Bring them to the event with you! Just don’t forget to inform the host   Exploit known environments No time to attend networking events? Network in environments you frequent anyway: the supermarket, the tram stop, the gym, the café. These are places pretty much everyone goes to, so you’ll be able to find any kind of people there – including the ones you might share synergies with. And if you’re a good networker, you won’t be after too many commonalities anyway, as you find everyone interesting, and, as we stated in commandment 3, networking is simply your lifestyle.   Video call That one-hour live meeting would be decisive for your career, but it takes you thirty minutes to get into town and thirty to go back, and you only have one hour? Propose a video call. It’s not proper offline networking, I know, but it’s something between online and offline. Video and sound combined have an amazing power. And you can persuade your contact to have a further meeting by saying “Next time I’ll make it up for this last-minute change of plans, and coffee will be on me”.   Now get out (or on...