Thursday, April 16, 2009

Connect In Your Pajamas

I recently attended an event where the question was asked about which was more productive and useful - networking live and in person or networking online? What a great question, especially given the explosion of websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Finding and making new connections has never been easier thanks to many of the fabulous social networking websites that have literally exploded onto the market the past few years. Many of which are free by the way!

In fact where else could you find out more detailed information about someone you want to connect with than online? Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer a plethora of detail about the people you meet, or want to meet. Much of that information being the information those people want to specifically share with you and anyone else who might happen along their cyber doorstep.

Networking "in the cloud" is so much easier than doing it online in my humble opinion. Why? Because the pressure is off. You don't have to make a whole lot of stupid sideshow conversation in hopes of catching some one's attention with your quippy 30 second elevator speech. Instead you can just be yourself and hopefully if you do a little research ahead of time you have something relevant to share and/or ask the people you engage.

Sure there are plenty of do's and don'ts when you look to take your networking efforts online but let us save that for a future BLOG post. Instead I want you to simply start thinking about the incredible time savings that discovering, making and growing new connections online can mean to you and your personal or professional interests.

Here's a few points to ponder:

The average networking event zaps a minimum 2.5-3.5 hours per event.

Rather than get all gussied up and drive down to the next local event, save yourself the time and the aggravation and simply grab your laptop, slide into a comfortable chair (or better yet, find a comfy hill at your local park), and start logging on to sites like Facebook and Twitter and start exploring, sharing and connecting.

Networking events cost money. Sometimes lots of money.

Connecting online is free.

Networking events require that you have to have endlessly mindless conversations to vet potential prospects.

Connecting online requires some due diligence on your part but it's faster and far more fun and productive.

Networking events rarely offer you any insight as to who the person is you've just met.

Connecting online allows you to learn what people want to share with the world. Many of those things become your ultimate connection points (i.e. he's a Cub fan, I'm a Cub fan).

I could name a hundred things that make connecting at home in your pajamas far more appealing than your average networking mixer but I think you get the point. I simply want to show you that the time, energy and effort which goes in to preparing and attending your average networking event could be so much better spent.

The tools that are already out there waiting for you to use them and oh last huge point. They are there when you want to use them 24x7. Isn't that so much more appealing than waiting until next week's chamber (rubber chicken) luncheon?

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

carianne said...

Great bit of advice Steve! I have been doing this recently more via LinkedIn and it's easy and quite productive. And I've learned who the 'connected'are...Mr. Ripple...