Online Networking vs. Offline Networking – Which Is Better?

Online networking allows you to meet lots of people who you otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet.  Instead of one-to-one networking, you can do one-to-thousands networking, and still have some level of intimacy.  You can enhance your brand as a thought leader or subject matter expert, and learn from the best minds in a particular space.  You can do it on your own time, from your own house… and you don’t even have to brush your teeth or comb your hair before you start!

Offline networking allows you to develop intimate relationships one-on-one where you can communicate with passion and excitement communicating with your voice fluctionation, body language, facial express, and touch. It’s a great opportunity to really get to know people, learn about their quirks, needs, desires, etc. in a setting where you both can devote your complete attention to one another.  You can put your best foot forward and guage reactions immediately.  And brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed up and actually talking with other human beings is a good thing 🙂

Of course, there are draw backs.  Online it’s easy to trust someone who isn’t who you think they are.  Not getting a timely response might lead you to draw wrong conclusions.  Information overload grabs at our attention, and we can easily communicate something that is misunderstood (without being able to immediately know it’s misunderstood).  It’s sometimes so easy that we overextend ourselves and drown in information and contacts, not really able to do anything but flounder.

Offline networking is a challenge because we have to dedicate time and gas money to travel to and from, sometimes pay for event or meals, go to an event where there aren’t enough of our target contacts (or there are too many, and not enough time), and my biggest challenge, weighing the opportunity cost in the in-person networking vs. what I could do from my office.

So which is better?  Either may be more appropriate for different objectives, but both can and should be used in a complementary strategy.  Don’t choose one or the other – do both.

This post is brought to you by Cindy Kraft , the CFO–Coach. Cindy Kraft is the Personal Brand Strategist & Career Coach for senior-level Finance Executives who are ready to repackage and position themselves in order to Land their next opportunity! Career offerings include marketing document development, brand strategizing, executive coaching, and online identity positioning.  Cindy Kraft is a JibberJobber Career Expert Partner.


6 thoughts on “Online Networking vs. Offline Networking – Which Is Better?”

  1. I recently attended Affiliate Summit East in Boston and though I was meeting many for the first time I also met many people in person that I had known via online connections for years. I was able to meet affiliates, partners and networks with whom I had done a lot of business online and here we were finally meeting each other in the flesh.
    Combination – if you meet them offline first – immediately link in – friend them – once you are back online. If you meet them online – try to find a conference where you can meet in person.
    The two together are very powerful and can make for some very solid partnerships.

  2. Off line networking. I thought about many times. Right now is very popular “Work from home” – very good idea because doesn’t need too much expense for our business, especially many of us got burned to start own.

    In ads we can find notes, you plan your schedule, hours, you can be in pyjama, nowbody care. That is right, but if we keep that life style, we forget about connection with family, friends, others. We will just educated home owners monkeys.

    We need go out – make social life: network, market ourselves. By that, we have connections stroger.
    Have great day everyone, enjoy life.


  3. Jason, I think you hit it right on the head. It really must be both, yet I also think there are ways to make offline networking work better from a distance. The telephone. It actually can help to bridge the gap between both sides, especially if there is a distance that makes a F2F difficult.

    Another help that I know from experience, is when you are striving to move to another community far removed where you may presently live. My connections online are a great help, but until I have had a chance to have a connection by phone they are just “cyber-associates”, but when we talk we can become friends.

    To be successful today it takes a combination of both. Anything less is non-productive.

  4. I agree it is critical to use both and have found sort of a reverse re-engineering method to be useful. On line networks have allowed me to reconnect toFriends and associates going back as much as 30-40 years. They are still active and the problems of age and a variety of other problems with today’s workplace become irrevalent. From there offline relationships have once again developed and unique types of think tanks and types of mentoring have evolved.
    I also find the principles and ethics from our earlier experiences have pretty much remained the same and in many cases improved.


  5. I agree, the two methods together can be very powerful. For some people, though, one may work better than the other.

    If you’re shy, online networking can be a way to get to know others before meeting them face to face. If personality plays a big role in your reasons for networking (i.e. finding a job in sales), it might be better to concentrate on meeting in person.

    I do wonder how we all managed to get by before the internet…there are so many people that I would never have met if it didn’t exist!

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