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The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Digital World Technology makes meetings super easy, but there is no substitute for being in the same room.

By Lucinda Honeycutt Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Kelvin Murray | Getty Images

After working in a digital environment for almost a decade, I have learned the value of making face-to-face connections with people. It started with calls and video sessions, but actually meeting someone in person has taken my working relationships to the next level. It allows people to connect in a way that is simply impossible from a distance.

Power of conferences: A personal perspective.

I've found one of the most effective ways to meet face-to-face with members of my online network is to attend annual conferences. The one conference I make sure not to miss is Type-A Parent. It has grown from an annual conference located near me to multiple conferences throughout the year, all over the country, and a series of small mastermind summits.

It's through this conference that I have been able to make more personal connections with people I have worked with online for years. It has also allowed me to meet new people and given me the ability to grow my business exponentially. This conference worked especially well for me because I was gathering with a group of parents who happen to blog and write online content that isn't about parenting. You know, parents who write, not parents who write about parenting. There is a substantial difference, and having the support of other parents who are making a living with words continues to be a powerful experience for me.

Related: 5 Steps to Rock Any Networking Event

Networking events.

There are conferences in every imaginable niche topic. For entrepreneurs alone, there are dozens of amazing opportunities. And when you add in field specific conferences, there are hundreds of viable options. Three of the events that have reached legendary status are South by Southwest (SXSW), Collision Conference and TechCrunch Disrupt.

SXSW will be held in Austin, Texas, this year from March 10 - March 19. This conference brings together powerhouse speakers in the fields of technology, music, entertainment, coding, government, health, journalism and virtually every other field you could possibly be interested in. Anyone who is looking for a phenomenal time to meet some of the biggest influencers in any industry should make this conference a priority.

Related: How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

Collision Conference is May 2 and May 4 in New Orleans. This is one of the best conferences anywhere in the world for those involved in tech entrepreneurship. As an added bonus, Jazz Fest is happening during this time as well -- a guarantee you will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best food and music in the world.

TechCrunch Disrupt NYC is May 15 and 18 in New York City. This is one of the most popular tech events of the year. Influential speakers are on hand, and master class level panels help entrepreneurs take a deep dive into some of the most pressing issues in the industry.

These are just a few of the conferences available this year in the U.S. Begin looking for other opportunities that may be closer to your physical location or more closely focused on your goals for the year and begin planning.

For anyone who wants to increase their personal and business networks or wants to help launch their career to the next level, face-to-face meetings are a must. One of the easiest ways to meet the most people with similar business interests and potential mentors is to attend a conference. Even if you start with one this year, you will meet thousands of people and broaden your reach beyond what you would be able to accomplish online.

Related: The Top 10 Behaviors to Avoid When Networking

The business of networking.

The value of face-to-face networking is being recognized as one of the most powerful tools available for increasing one's personal exposure, creating meaningful relationships and providing growth opportunities at a personal and professional level. It's so important that it has become a daunting task for many people who are unsure who they should be connecting with or where they should focus their attention.

This has led to a new industry created around knowing exactly who one needs to be introduced to and how to facilitate that initial meeting. One of the people I recently met is an expert in this field. Alycia Kaback went from being one of those confused people to dominating the art of introduction. Her natural energy, enthusiasm and ability to bounce back from rejection have helped her network with industry experts across a variety of fields.

As you begin to break out of your comfort zone and start engaging with more people, it is important to be aware of how you present yourself. Learn how to effectively greet new people, when to listen and when it is time to move on to the next person.

Lucinda Honeycutt

Freelance writer and web designer

Lucinda Honeycutt is a freelance writer and web designer nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. She's a tech geek, foodie and research junkie who writes about a little bit of everything.

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