Networking is about building contacts that might, now or in the future, help you in your work. Networking has taken a much higher profile in recent years with the advent of the internet and both business and social networking sites such as Linkedin, WeChat and Facebook as well as Twitter.
However, many business people argue that there is no substitute for face to face meetings at least at some point in a negotiation. A survey by Harvard Business Review (for British Airways Business Life magazine, Sep 2009) reported that 79 per cent of respondents regarded personal meetings as essential when selling business. Some 87 per cent said that face to face meetings were essential when ‘sealing the deal’. And some 95 per cent said that face to face meetings are ‘key to success in building long-term relationships’. British Airways, of course, has a vested interest in promoting business travel, but the survey was undertaken independently and reinforces other evidence of the importance of meeting people in order to develop good relationships.
Brad Burton, who set up 4Networking observes that “people buy from people before they buy products or services. If you get the people bit right, the business follows.”