Is Face/2/Face Networking Nearing Extinction?


David Bexley says:

Face to Face definitely not dead, nothing better than looking someone in the eye and judging reactions!!

Thank you for taking the time to comment David, would you argue that face 2 face networking is a tool you still heavily rely on whilst building business relationships? Judging reactions is a useful interpersonal skill however is it not possible to judge reactions and look someone in the eye through the various technological ‘tools’ such as Skype, Facetime and video conferencing?

Meryl Blanchard says:

Although both are important, the majority of my business still comes via referrals from people in the real world who actually know me – face to face wins every time!

Thank you for your comments Meryl, Good to know face 2 face is still very much alive in your line of work. With technology advancing and social media becoming a more popular choice for businesses to advertise and promote their services, do you think gradually more of your referrals will come via social media?

Kevin Fields says:

Face to face is vital for developing initial relationships, but technology can help develop/enhance those relationships once formed.

Thank you Kevin for your comments, We agree that face 2 face is vital for developing initial relationships; however research indicates that young professionals entering the industry are becoming more comfortable communicating through technology! What advice would you give to these professionals to stop relying on their phone and to get out in the field to build real business relationships?

Kevin Fields says:

Young professionals entering the industry are undoubtedly more familiar with modern technology, but many of the established professionals in industry are arguably more familiar with face 2 face communication. ‘Know your customer’ is the watchword – get a feel for how individual customers prefer to communicate and adapt your methods accordingly.

we agree it is definitely a generational thing, but dont you think this is restricting companies in regards to trying to reach a wider customer base through the use of technology? You mention that ‘knowing your customer’ is key, however dont you feel that everyone should be exposed to technology in order to adapt to this changing world?

Kevin Fields says:

Some great comments being made and it is clear that F2F and electronic communication are both vital tools for those in industry, and to be honest, all other aspects of life as well. They are methods that complement each other, rather than compete with each other.
A further thought – it is much easier to say NO via electronic communication than it is to someone’s face. If you are competing for business, F2F contact may just give you a slight edge.

Thank you Kevin for your comments, we strongly agree that both F2F and technology should correlate with eachother when building and maintaining a strong business relationship!

Mari Daly says:

Face2face won’t become extinct. Digital platforms play a vital part in sharing ideas and information, and keeping in touch with the people in your network. However, events management is ultimately a people business. It requires personal touch, and could never be well-managed via online networking only.

Thank you for taking time to comment Mari. Do you believe that digital platforms are being overused for networking at this moment in time? Would you like to see more young professionals network face2face? Which method do you believe to be better for brain storming and creating ideas Technology or Face2Face? Many Thanks

Laura Saffill says:

I think face to face is still so important for building strong working (& personal) relationships. Online definitely has it’s place but I feel this is more of an organisational tool rather than a relationship building one. Online communication is great for initial contact, setting up meetings etc but face to face cannot be replaced by it. So much is gained from meeting & spending time with someone in the flesh. You can read their body language, sense a good rapport with them (or not!) and feel so much more ‘in touch’ with the other person/people. I think this leads to better, more secure & successful long & short term working relationships.

Thank you Laura for your feedback! Do you not think that technology can still be used to maintain a relationship and not just an organsiational tool?

Savvana Heartly says:

technology has played a vital part in my career. As a young professional looking for her first job, it was through social media platforms that I found and got my dream job! It gave me confidence in my abilities and I didn’t feel judge on my appearance.

Congratulations Savvana on finding your dream job! This is a good example of how digital technology offers many benefits to those searching for new opportunities. However, do you not think that F2F interactions are key during the interviewing process?

Savvana Heartly says:

Thank you Face 2 Face! There were many layers to the interview process for my position, It wasn’t until the final stage that I had a face 2 face interview. Knowing that my credentials had got me so far through the selection process made me much more confident in myself and I honestly believe that is what got me the job. Therefore, I believe that although individuals get judged on first appearences I believe your skills can take you further.

jlannon2014 says:

Is the events industry protesting too much? Are they afraid that by acknowledging technology as a meeting / networking tool they are turkeys voting for Christmas? Obviously, a significant number of event companies rely upon clients wanting F2F meetings in order to remain in business (by booking space on their behalf). This is not an entirely new phenomena as teleconferencing has been around for a number of years and most people can communicate by email. I think that it is down to event managers to promote the benefits of F2F meetings, but also be aware of the technology and use it in their favour by having twitter links during conferences managing social media for their and their clients’ benefit. Nothing beats looking into someone’s eyes to see what they are really saying!!

Thank you for your response. I agree that the events industry has to respond to the changing landscape of networking by embracing technology. However, I believe that F2F networking underpins the success of this industry and allows for more personable relationships to be formed with clients which can then of course open up other channels of communication such as digital. However, is this a generational issue?

James Andrews says:

I do think it’s fizzling out, however internal management usually have face to face meetings as its a lot easier for them that way. Externally, between different companies, it’s easier for them to use Skype, webcams, FaceTime etc. So in a way, face to face is becoming less and less of a common thing.

Aaron Ridout says:

Face to face is definitely a great way of building a stronger relationship and I think that it should still be a part of all business and industry. The real difference is the ease of using technology, you can speak to many more customers, no matter where they are. This is also a cost saving. Social media makes meeting new people and getting introduced into new circles of customers much easier and quicker.

Knowing your client is the answer. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to communication. Invariably it is a mixture of the two but make you client happy by adapting to their wants and needs.

Thankyou Aaron for your interesting comment! You mention that the use of social media can be cost saving, however do you feel this method is most effective?

Gill Lightfoot says:

I prefer Face2Face. I like to meet people to see how genuine they are which is hard through technology, it feels more personal with time being devoted to you and your company. Face2Face also allows me to see how professional the individual is and allows me to identify who they are and recommend them in the future. Technology could contribute to older professionals feeling alienated from the client. However I believe technology should be used to welcome a large client base which hasn’t been available until recently.

Thankyou Gill for your interesting point of view! You mention that ‘Technology could contribute to older proessionals feeling alienated from the client’ do you feel that this older generation should be made more aware of the technolgical advances within industry?

Gill Lightfoot says:

I’m glad you enjoyed my point of view. Yes I believe that we as older professionals should be made more aware of the technological advances. However old habits die hard and my opinion is why should I change how I network if it has worked so well for me in the past? I much prefer face to face or speaking on the phone, as I struggle to read in between the lines of e-mails or texts and more often than not I forget to reply!! My belief is that face to face can not become extinct as we are a people industry.

Andre Hoo says:

Pretty interesting. Personally I think that technological advances are best when used to supplement face to face relationships (i.e. staying in contact or quick messages, finding events, etc.) but nothing will truly overtake the personal connection of networking in person.

Good video!

Hi Andre, appriciate your comment! We agree that technology is best used alongside F2F. However, dont you feel due to the rapid advanaces in technology, people will naturally be more inclined to use technology in the future as a communication tool over F2F? Is this a worry?

luke jones says:

I personally believe face 2 face is the best form of networking. It is more personal and professional. It is extremely important to have social and interpersonal skills in the even/hospitality industry.

Hi Luke, thank you for your interesting reply! We agree that using F2F is a great way to build strong working relationships, however do you feel that technology can be used as a useful tool to maintain these relationships?

Steve Buttery says:

I think relationships that are forged through F2F are stronger as there is a personal element. Technology is beneficial when distance is an issue but where possible, I would always prefer F2F.

Thank you for your reply Steve. Your perspective is interesting, but do you think that relationships should only be maintained through F2F when distance is not an issue?

Liz Hide says:

I agree with Luke that it’s vital in the event industry to be able to communicate with people (both face to face and by phone, by which I mean talking to someone and not texting them or using it to email!) not just for the initial meeting but to develop the working relationship; although keeping in touch through social media sites like LinkedIn is helpful.

Thank you for taking the time to comment Liz, interesting perspective. Do you think that relying on social media platforms in order to keep in touch, weakens an individuals interpersonal skills?

Peter Hensor says:

Face To Face is still strong and thriving within todays society however as a young professional i must admit i find it easier and quicker to sit down at a computer and send out mass emails or texts. Saying that i believe this way to be less personal and come closer to the event or if we have any issues i will always meet face to face with my client.

Online networking is a development that enhances the whole process of networking, however that doesn’t mean is has or should replace face-2-face networking.

I agree that the integration of the two elements is the most efficient way to build connections, you are able to connect with people around the world and start conversations prior to meeting in person. That makes the whole process of in-person conversation easier and more relaxed, and the online side means you are able to keep the relationship & conversation going.

However the biggest thing is to make sure you are using the right tools for the people you are connecting with. I am very active on twitter and LinkedIn, therefore social media networking via those platforms is perfect and one of best ways for people to connect with me – but there is no point trying to connect online with someone who only like to meet with people face-2-face at events!

There are many benefits to the two different types of networking but, as you guys said, research and industry professionals know that combining the two is most efficient.

Thank you for your comment Caitlin! As a young professional in industry and a keen blogger, do you feel that you have benefited mainly from technology? and how do you stand out as a young professional, to the more ‘traditional’ professionals relying on F2F?

Technology has really helped me in terms of career development and networking within the industry. I wouldn’t say that it is the only reason I have gotten to where I am, but it has played a massive part.

I think the way that event students and young professionals can stand out is by using a combination of online and F2F networking. Learning to feel comfortable in both scenarios and knowing how to make the online side work in your favor, will make a massive different. There are a lot of event professionals who are active online, but it is important to be part of the conversation and discussions and not just focusing on building connections for job or work purposes- focus on genuine relationships & having an opinion!

We agree that both F2F and technology should be used alongside eachother, but what advice would you give to an experienced professional who doesnt necessarily feel comfortable with using technology?

I think face to face networking is far more effective People buy People not products. But i do feel that both are important in any kind of business.

Interesting perspective Sue. Thank you for your comment. Do you feel that if distance was an issue, that a strong working relationship can be maintained through technology?

Elizabeth Tomkinson says:

I think if F2F Networking was dying out, so would the events industry, and at the moment it appears to be thriving.
Let’s face it, can you really count a webinar as an event, does it involve the same planning and engagement? – Technology can enhance the event experience but it can’t replace it.
My company rely entirely on events that involve face to face networking, be it at private dinners or huge exhibitions. Delegate numbers are on the raise and so are exhibitors and sponsors.
If we have a new event we have F2F meetings with our clients, potential sponsors and contractors throughout the whole process. A lot more gets done, quicker, more efficiently and you get a feel of the person you are working with.
Personality sells business much more effectively!

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