The Future of Networking — Predictions From a Networking App Entrepreneur By expanding your network, you can increase awareness for your project/brand, grow your profits, secure investment and so much more.

By Keith West

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the most significant challenges that both established and new entrepreneurs face is connecting with the right people and curating a genuine business network that will lead to mutually beneficial growth and progress. The saying goes for all industries worldwide, "It's not always what you know, but who you know." Networking is a sharing process; an invaluable opportunity to connect, build and amplify. By expanding your network, you can increase awareness for your project/brand, grow your profits, secure investment and so much more.

As tech becomes ever more embedded in and core to our day-to-day interactions, in the very near future, networking will look very different.

Networking in the metaverse

The metaverse is here for the long-haul. A quick Google search brings up over a billion results. Large organizations, such as JP Morgan, HSBC, American Express and Qualcomm, are all hopping on the metaverse rocket ship with no signs of slowing down. So, what is it about the metaverse that makes it so attractive to the world? The simple explanation is: Humans crave connection and new technology. Pair the two together, and you get a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.

My prediction is that networking in the metaverse is going to become the norm across all industries worldwide. Despite our pull to the metaverse, there is something unique about the bonds built through personal interaction. As we submerge ourselves more and more in tech-based interaction, those moments of personal interaction will increase in value.

Related: Here's What Future of Networking is Going to be Like

Different channels to network

Over the last 20 years, the most viable option for professional networking has been LinkedIn. There is no doubt that this has been an valuable resource for entrepreneurs and businesses, but more organizations are looking at other, more effective and purpose-driven ways to gather people to connect. It's not just about networking — it's about networking with the right people, at the right time, in the right way. The mission at Network and Chill is to provide an unmatched opportunity for innovative and driven individuals from a diverse range of sectors to gather in a social, relaxing and exclusive environment. To ease and further personalize the experience for members, N&C have also developed an exclusive members-only entrepreneurial mobile app to allow immediate access to invaluable information and resources to support up-and-coming professionals and startup companies. They also provide opportunities for founders to find new clients, potential partners and investors, and get feedback on new ideas.

My prediction is, as the world starts recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, after a period of longing for personal interaction, networking in all forms is going to see an increased boom — larger than the 21st century has ever seen.

Related: 3 Strategies for Networking in the Post-Pandemic World

Increased international travel to connect

Networking is heading for expansion both locally and globally. As mentioned previously, we are all desperately looking to connect in person after almost three years of lockdowns and social distancing.

My prediction is that more and more individuals will be travelling internationally to meet in person and connect for business meetings, to share ideas and to close deals. Networking and having a space (virtually and otherwise) to do this is imperative, especially as we're seeing the world innovate at an exponential rate. Having a one-stop-shop to connect startups with like-minded brands, founders, marketing professionals and businesses, offering advice and connections to help guide and support individuals on their entrepreneurial journey, is essential. We're always learning, and our community learns with us.

Many entrepreneurs have an idea, but may not have the funding, mentor or contact to see the idea through. Someone who does not have access to the right resources or connections could have an idea that can change millions of people's lives. We see the importance of bridging the gap between just an idea and a successful project/venture/product, and that is where networking comes in.

Keith West

Founder & CEO of Network & Chill

Keith West is the founder and CEO of members-only platform Network & Chill (A central hub for entrepreneurs & professionals, offering a fresh take on networking globally).

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