It is not a secret that building a strong network can help you become successful. One thing I value about networking is having face-to-face meetings

The best thing about face-to-face networking is the stories that are shared. I recently met someone at a networking meeting and was intrigued by the stories that were told. Passion, confidence and engagement was conveyed as I heard about some background information, experience and vision that this person had.

It is hard to get this type of interaction though digital touches. It is really important to meet with people in person. LinkedIn is great and one could share articles, information and even communicate though messages, but it does not trump face-to-face communication. Don’t get me wrong, digital touches work for long distance network relationships, but having in person meetings with local connections should be a must.

First, there is body language and personality. You are able to see reactions to your words as well as see emotion when someone is telling you a story. You are able to connect on a different level than in a virtual environment.

Then you have the spur of the moment discussions. One story can spark an idea and drive the conversation further, or even in another direction. Most times this is where the best discussion and ideas come from.

On Friday, I had lunch with someone that always seems to help cultivate great discussion. We were able to take a topic and really go to town on it. What was the topic you might ask?

The topic was: what do you think is the future of marketing automation? My thoughts were that brands will start to use more data, such as emotional and social. They will be able to read buying signals better and be able to learn about past and present behavior (using data) to algorithmically determine when and why consumers are ready to buy. This will, I turn, change how brands approach targeted marketing. Connections to more available data and will assist with this feat.

Now, back to networking. The commitment to meeting in person shows that you care about relationships and that you are serious about providing value to your network members. It also helps you develop better in person communication skills.

Remember to give back the same, if not more, value that you receive. Embody #GTY (Greater Than Yourself) by being a mentor and seeking out those that can help you become a better person.

One you have a strong network, it is important to nurture your relationships. You can use various reminder tools or calendar entries to remind you to reach out to your network members every few weeks or months.

Reach out every now and then to say hello, or even to inform people what you are up to. You do not have to request a lunch meeting or need anything, just let them know you are thinking about them. Keep the relationship fresh.

Networking should be a priority and can help foster a society of communicators! Do you have a networking story or tip? Please share if you do.

To hear more about my automation theories, we should connect and meet up!


  • Hank Hoffmeier

    Hank is an author, speaker, podcast host and Sr. Manager of Marketing Operations at Kickbox, a Ziff Davis company. With a passion for all things digital and social, combined with more than 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, he has been dubbed the Digital Marketing Infotainer because he makes marketing fun and successful.