The Pros and Cons of Networking: Online and Offline

Photo Credit: Mireya Gonzalez

Now that we’re well past all Covid related restrictions… we can go back to in person networking! Wahoooo!

But wait!…. hold on a minute. Today is the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve enjoyed and gained from online networking and consider how going forwards there are times when online is best and there are times when in person is best.

So here’s a pros and cons summary to help you plan your networking and decide if on or offline is what you’re after? Or like me you’re a hybrid kind of a girl!

Here’s what networking does for us, no matter where or how we do it: (well, assuming you’re investing in quality networking). Networking plays a vital role in the success of our businesses, allowing us to forge connections, explore opportunities, and build a strong support system, to help us thrive and achieve our business goals.

Online Networking:

Pros:

Expanded Reach:

  1. Online networking breaks geographical barriers, enabling entrepreneurs to connect with professionals from all around the world. Through social media platforms, online communities, and professional networking websites, business owners can reach a broader audience and access a wealth of diverse perspectives and resources. This is something that I’ve been very privileged to witness in my membership The Tribe as we’ve welcomed women from all over the globe. The diversity in experience, cultures and practises have given everyone richer learning and positive growth opportunities.

Convenience and Flexibility:

  1. One of the major advantages of online networking is the convenience it offers. We can connect and engage with others at own pace, without the constraints of time and location. You can avoid all the hassles of transport, parking, travel time, traffic etc making it easier to fit networking activities into a busy schedule.

Access to Niche Communities:

  1. Online networking allows us to find and join niche communities that align with our specific industry or interests. These communities provide targeted networking opportunities, fostering deeper connections with like-minded professionals and potential collaborators.

Cost-Effective:

  1. Compared to attending in-person events, online networking can be more cost-effective. In The Tribe the monthly membership is £45 and this gives you EIGHT online networking meet ups! So it really is amazing value for money and you could easily spend that much on one networking lunch with your travel too. It’s why our members love it so much! A really affordable accessible and practical way to network with like minded women to effectively and sustainably grow your business.

Cons:

Lack of face to face 

  1. It is true. With online networking you don’t get to physically be in the same room as others and that does of course have its disadvantages. Although I think people believe that having a personal connection is not possible online. I disagree. Ask any of my members and they will tell you how the online networking in our community is very powerful indeed.

    Building trust and rapport may be more challenging without the benefit of non-verbal cues and in person human interaction, potentially impacting the depth of relationships formed. However I can honestly say that the relationships my members foster online are deep genuine and exceptionally meaningful. The reason for this is because we are a small community and so potential online obstacles are overcome by the intimacy of our small and supportive network.

Information Overload:

  1. With the vast amount of information available online, we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content and connections. It can be time-consuming to sift through the noise and identify meaningful networking opportunities, making it essential to focus on quality rather than quantity. Fortunately in The Tribe the focus is on networking and just networking! There isn’t a library of content or a portal of masterclasses to overwhelm you. Just pure simple networking.

Offline Networking:

Pros:

Face-to-Face Interaction:

  1. Offline networking provides the opportunity for genuine face-to-face interaction, fostering stronger connections and building trust more effectively. In-person events allow us to engage on a personal level, making it easier to establish meaningful relationships. If you know this is more your thing then take a look at the Summer Networking Event in Bristol, a whole day of face to face networking! If you can’t make the date but you’d like to join a day like this then keep your eyes peeled for the next one later on in the year.

Non-Verbal Communication:

  1. Offline networking allows for the use of non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions, which can enhance communication and convey authenticity. These cues play a crucial role in building rapport and creating a favorable impression.

Immediate Feedback:

  1. Engaging in offline networking allows for immediate feedback and real-time conversations. We can receive instant reactions, ask questions, and engage in dynamic discussions, facilitating a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives. Although having said this, online networking can do exactly this too! In our member sessions on zoom (there’s 2 a week so plenty to choose from) we have a very interactive discussion around members’ business challenges. Questions are encouraged and members get really valuable feedback and suggestions with both practical and strategic dilemmas.

Cons:

Limited Reach:

  1. Offline networking events
    are often limited to a specific geographical area, which can restrict opportunities to connect with professionals from diverse locations. This can be a challenge for business owners seeking a broader network or international collaborations.

Time and Resource Constraints:

  1. Participating in offline networking events can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Traveling to events, attending conferences, or joining industry associations may require significant investments of time, money, and energy.

Networking Fatigue:

  1. Regularly attending offline events can lead to networking fatigue, particularly if you’re attending numerous gatherings without a clear focus or objective. Also if you’re an introvert and find the energy needed to take part in face to face meetings overwhelming, it can be particularly draining. Balancing networking efforts with other business responsibilities is crucial to avoid burnout. 

I know the importance of self care as a small business owner and it is something that we acknowledge and recognise in the membership. We’re not just business owners. We’re humans! We have personal and life challenges that impact on how we manage our time and our commitment to our business. We’re a compassionate and caring community and we’d love to welcome you into the fold!

If you’d like to come along to a taster networking meet-up click here and we’ll see you soon.

Have questions? Pop me an email sarah@sarahcook.co.uk


Hi, I’m Sarah.

I’m passionate about empowering women to have a voice, have their story heard and follow their dreams in life & business. My mission is to offer innovative, extraordinary & inspiring networking opportunities for female lead businesses.

I’ve helped 1000’s of women grow in confidence & self belief, in turn growing their business beyond what they thought they could achieve.

My networking style and my membership is based on what I believe to be the most important things in business: integrity, compassion, honesty, support, connection, community, growth & fun!

I’m a smiley half glass full kind of person who loves charity shopping, bright colours, running, 80’s music and white wine. Oh and my cat Oscar.

Join my community Come Network With Me & meet like- minded women all supporting each other to grow happy healthy successful businesses.

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