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Growth Strategies / Networking

Steve Jobs Invented the iPhone But Warned It Was No Substitute for Networking Face-to-Face

Science is repeatedly confirming what Jobs knew intuitively -- people need to be in a room together to really accomplish great things.
Steve Jobs Invented the iPhone But Warned It Was No Substitute for Networking Face-to-Face
Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
- Guest Writer
Founder of 501 Words
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The most recent data from Statista re-affirms the explosion of social networks. And you already know that exponential boom has been nothing short of a revolution in the business world.

Related: How My Chlidren Taught Me a Lesson in Networking

With social technology, it’s easy to intuitively suppose that face-to-face networking is going out of style. Why not? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others have become indispensable networking tools and what’s more, live streaming is changing the game more and more. Software like ClickMeeting makes web conferences, live meetings and remote training incrediably simple.

But is traditional networking truly antiquated?

Steve Jobs, one of the greatest geniuses of the technology age, made a clear-cut remark when he said, “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions.” In agreement, statistics also prove that the traditional method of networking remains the most effective.

A study by Great Business Schools entitled, “The Numbers Behind Networking,” reveals that 84 percent of business leaders prefer in-person meetings. In fact, 72 percent of them, according to the findings, declare that ordinary looks and handshakes influence them more.

There’s a plethora of reasons why traditional networking will continue to be relevant. Here are some fundamental points every businessperson should keep in mind.

1. Professionalism and effectiveness.

Going one-on-one with people allows professional, effective engagement. Contrarily, digital interactions do not always meet these standards, especially those that are related to morale, recognition and trust. Many companies that have attempted to take meetings to the virtual world quickly resorted back to in-person meetings due to fatal flaws.

Aside from that, the number of people who have either missed an opportunity or got fired on account of their failure to maintain a balance between professional persona and social media life is another adverse effect of digital technology on professional networking.

Related: Why I Drove From LA to San Francisco For a Coffee Meeting -- Twice

2. True, concrete connection.

No matter the soft spot for social networking, personal interaction is the heart of business relationships. The reason is that linking up with people online can easily go cold and awkward thus jeopardizing networking goals.

It’s better to use social media as a means to bolster a connection with people whom you’ve already met or likely engaged. If you haven't met, but will soon, use social media to express your excitement -- “Hello, I'm so glad we're finally meeting in person!”

Consider this example. Jeff Goins, the author of Real Artists Don’t Starve, was only able to maximize his virtual mentorship with Michael Hyatt by eventually meeting him -- after seven months of online courses and two months of more than 50 email exchanges. As Goins put it, “there’s no doubt that if I hadn’t met him, I would be much further behind in my career.”

3. Networking like a pro.

To be honest, everything goes online. We’re continuously inundated with sure-fire hacks and smart tips from every Tom, Dick and Harry. It’s just really hard to separate the expert from the mediocre, much less of real from fake.

For high networking goals, getting together at dinners, seminars and other networking events drives better results. Following the real intimation offered by these avenues, you’ll have no difficulty to build on the relationship via whatever digital means.

Related: Email Is Great But Face-to-Face Meetings Are 34 Times More Successful

Thomas Camarda, while connecting the saying “out of sight, out of mind” with networking, submits that networking events could determine the success of a business by 80 percent. According to him, “When others see you appear at different business networking events, their acceptance for you grows stronger, and you will attract top networkers.”

Conclusion.

Face-to-face networking is all-important for business and career success. As reported by FoxBusiness, 60-80 percent of jobs -- which are never online -- are secured through personal relationships. Plus, one-on-one is still the best way to learn first-hand skills, build a positive reputation and stronger business relations, gain more exposure and, of course, navigate successfully in the business world.

Not Having These 8 Networking Skills Will Cost You