Online communication is incredibly convenient. So convenient, we sometimes forget that we can talk to people in person!

Just as you take time to update your social media channels, you should also be working hard to attend networking events, meetups, and after-hours business events. This type of face-to-face interaction doesn’t just build on your current networking strategy. It provides an entirely new way of learning about your customers and prospects.

Below we provide a few ways that face-to-face interaction is different from online communication and why in-person networking is crucial to growing your business.

You Get Honest Feedback

It’s amazing the type of feedback you get from a person directly. When you send an email, you have to wait for the person to respond, which could take hours or days. By the time they respond, the feedback might not even be relevant. Plus, there is a filter in online communications (the device), which can make it challenging to understand intent.

When talking to someone in person, you get the feedback you need right away. You can also ask questions, clear up misunderstandings and have a better feel for intent by reading body language. You can even have engaging discussions, something that is hard to do online.

You Can Showcase Your Personality

Emojis, all caps, italics, quotes, jokes, etc. are all ways to inject personality into your online interactions. But nothing captures your personality quite like YOU. By attending networking events, you can share your personality with others, which will help build credibility and trustworthiness. Consumers like doing business with people they know and trust, so don’t be afraid to show a vulnerable side of your business, such as the reason why you do what you do.

You Can Read Body Language

One thing that online interactions lack is the ability to read someone’s body language. Is the person genuinely interested in your products or services, or should you move on? Is the person ready to close the deal but needs more reassurance? Do you and the person share the same passions and connect on a personal level? All of these things can be interpreted by body language. You can then use this feedback to guide your relationships.

You Can Avoid Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings are the worst. Unfortunately, they happen a lot when talking to people online. Often, people misinterpret the message. Unless you speak to a person directly, you have little opportunity to explain your message and clear up loose ends. Luckily, when you talk to someone face to face, you can do all of these things and exit the conversation when there are no other questions.

Online communication is great. It’s convenient, flexible and fast. However, it shouldn’t be your only form of communication. Face-to-face interaction remains a substantial part of your networking strategy because of the benefits listed above. The best way to get started is by attending a meetup in your local area!