Old-School Networking with a New-School Twist
People, business networking still works.
However, there is a networking war going on, did you know it? What side are you on?
Before you choose, hear me out. As far as old-school networking versus new-school networking goes, at my current age, I am a tweener, so I get both sides of the argument; I am truly torn.
However, as Rodney King said in his famous spiel, “Can’t we all just get along?”
We can, I am sure of it.
Old-school business people had a cup of plain black not-so-good-tasting coffee in their hand at all times and wanted to connect face to face, look you in the eye and shake on a deal. They were taught that was the only way to do business….real business. Set up the appointment, meet face to face and close the deal.
Or better yet, I can drive or fly to you and let’s meet face to face over dinner to discuss the deal and get to know each other better. That’s how Andy Griffith and the boys did it.
The old way to do business
There are still some dinosaurs around that still believe that is the only way to do REAL business. Of course, it still works, but boy is it time-consuming and expensive. They just don’t get these younger kids, all they want to do is text, post on Facebook, email and waste time, and how can you work when your phone is in your hand all day, anyway?
Being a tweener, I started old school in business. I loved it, but it took so long for me to drive to the coffee shop or restaurant, and what if one of us was 15 minutes late because of traffic or we wrote the time down wrong?
We all accepted it because it had a way of evening out, anyway. The worst part was we had to drive back to the office, and sometimes you got caught in traffic on the way back, or worse, the person never showed up.
Great meetings most of the time, but boy, it took all day to connect with three people, only to find out two of them weren’t a good fit and we misunderstood each other’s business. Great conversation, but a total waste of time.
Can I get a witness? “Let’s keep in touch, maybe down the line we can help each other out.”
However, as we both left, we both knew we wasted each other’s time, but that was how we did business, wasting tons of time hoping for the right connection. It worked because we didn’t know any better and that was the only way.
The new way
However, millennials are entering the workplace, and that cup of nasty acid-based coffee our uncles held in their hands all day has been replaced by a cup of gourmet coffee from Starbucks.
So that makes us similar right there, we still have the coffee in our hands, it’s just not black anymore. It has been replaced with whip and foam. Coffee is now a part of a young professional’s budget, and organic, vegan meals too.
Now, today, our other hand is occupied, too. Millennials and other young spirited professionals are never too far away from their smartphone. If it’s not in our hands most of the day, it lays right next to our keys or charging on its base.
Everything, I mean everything is done through the phone now, via text, email and other technology-driven ways to communicate in a much more efficient but less personable manner. Uncle has bought in some with his flip phone but he is lagging behind.
A millennial can communicate with 100 people in the same time frame it takes us to meet face to face.
Which way is better?
So who is right? Which way is better?
On one hand, face to face is very time-consuming but much more effective in connecting versus just communicating with other business professionals and driving business. Millennials have figured out that they can communicate and not connect with many more people in the same time frame it took us to drive to and fro to Mayberry for coffee.
Much less personable, but the older generation will get overwhelmed by sheer numbers. I am sure the internet is not going any place anytime soon, in fact never. It is what it is.
Here is my solution for how we can all get along. Why not do both?
Why not use technology, millennials, to meet face to face, and personalize your relationships? Why not use technology, uncle, to connect with many more people like your nieces and nephews do every day?
A combination of both
That is why I love Google Hangout, Skype or Zoom, which is coming on the scene strong. You can do face-to-face networking in a much more affordable and efficient way. We all can get along.
All the LinkedIn connections you think you have, why not schedule at least one face-to-face Skype or equivalent to cement the relationship and give it that old school flair? I know Uncle is outdated and old school, but he knew something about relationship management that millennials need to adopt. On the other hand, youngster knows how to use technology to make life easier. They don’t look like they’re working, but they can slay a whole army with technology.
The bottom line is this: People are still the most valuable resource on this earth, so that is why networking is still a great way to grow your business.
I do see this business world at a crossroad, where old-school business is getting infused with the new school and millennial push. I don’t care how much technology moves forward, the internet still can’t completely replace humans and good old face-to-face communication. However, old-school people, why not embrace technology and face-to-face communication?
As I say this, I am sure the millennial community will put this to the test, but I stand by my old-school convictions, old-school networking with a new school twist.
Youngsters, you can learn from uncle. I know you know how to communicate to the masses, but uncle knew how to connect. And that’s how we can all get along.
by: Walter Bond
Source: The Business Journals