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Why In-Person Networking Beats Every Other Kind of Networking

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If we pay attention to the business socialization trends of the past few years, it would be easy to believe that networking is all about sending out LinkedIn connection requests, managing Facebook pages, and maintaining a steady stream of re-tweets. That stuff is certainly important, but not nearly as important as traditional, offline networking — the good old handshake, exchanging business cards, and get-to-know-you small-talk.

The most recent generations, from millennials onward, are natives to digital media, which is also the reason why so much activity is taking place there. Having said that, face-to-face communication is still the best, and we’re coming back to it even in the digital world (with FaceTime calls, Zoom conferences, etc.). Here are a few reasons why in-person networking is better than every other kind of networking:

It Reinforces Relationships

Getting a “Hey, how’s it going?” text from someone you haven’t seen in a while is nice. But, getting a “Free for lunch on Wednesday?” text promises a much higher level of engagement and relationship reinforcement. We all have people in our circles that we only exchange Christmas texts with, and although we value them, we know that they’re not our go-to partners, prospects, and colleagues, and neither are we one for them. Meeting with people face to face allows you to get to know them on a deeper level and provides greater opportunity to take that relationship — be it business or personal — to the next level.

It Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone

You probably remember the last time you cancelled on someone or declined an invitation, just because you felt like watching the game or doing just about anything else. It’s perfectly acceptable to choose not to go every now and then, but we can’t let it become a habit. Seeing people (and being seen by people) reminds them of you, and being top-of-mind is important, particularly in our line of work.

The other benefit of getting out there is that we get to work out our social muscles that help us get rid of social anxiety and push the boundaries of our comfort zone by initiating conversation, approaching strangers, and just generally broadening our network.

You Learn About People (and Yourself)

Mortgage professionals need to be exemplary talkers and getting out and meeting people definitely sharpens that skill. However, there’s one skill even more important than talking: listening (more on the importance of listening, here). If you’re observant and attentive, you’ll learn to recognize emotions and motivations in people just from what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. Some people find social events draining, but much of that stems from them giving a great deal of energy to thinking about what they’re going to say next. If you learn to switch your focus from giving to receiving, it’s a great way to improve your social intelligence and dispense of much of that draining social anxiety.

Make it Fun

Sure, most of what we’re talking about are all kinds of official company events, educational sessions, business meetings, conferences, and so on — and those are not exactly the most entertaining events you’ve ever attended. But if we see it like that, we’re only adding ourselves to the mass of the already bored. Smile at people, be positive, affable, and funny. People like to connect and work with people they enjoy being around. Being positive improves your likability and helps make you memorable. A positive attitude is maybe the best conversation opener and relationship glue I’ve ever seen.

So, skip this today’s LinkedIn hunt and find an industry-related event this week or next, — and just go. I’m sure that your experience will only prove that in-person networking is still the best way to build and maintain relationships out there.

If you’d like to talk more about in-person networking, or if there’s another matter I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to set aside some time to connect. Also, if you’re considering a move, we have some terrific opportunities for loan officers, sales managers, and branch managers that I’d love to discuss with you.


Don Riggs

VP – Retail Market Leader

NMLS 132702