The National Conference Center (NCC), one of the largest eco-friendly conference centers in the U.S., released a white paper on the importance of face-to-face networking. Authored by Dyanne Smith as part of “Meeting Discoveries” white paper series, networking is considered an art and necessary business tactic that is rapidly being lost.
“With the amount of online resources readily available to us on our desktops and smart phones, blindly attending events and ‘hoping for the best’ becomes obsolete,” said Smith. She also cautions that “we must remind ourselves that social media does not replace face-to-face networking but instead is a supplement and provides the tools for instantaneous two-way communication.”
Interviewing Washington, D.C. business leaders and leading authorities on events and successful networking, contributors to the paper included Kristina Bouweiri, Reston Limousine; Lyles Carr, The McCormick Group; “Networking is Not Working” author Derek Coburn of cadre; Kelly Harris, Lockheed Martin; Tina Johnson, JP Events and Consulting; writer Diane Lunsford who has supported many regional executives; Sharla Warren, eventPower; and Tien Wong, Tech2000.
“As a prime training and event venue, we think that the benefits of teaching and implementing good networking skills are extremely important and are often undervalued and overlooked,” stated Phillip Saims, director of sales and marketing, NCC. “We wanted to provide insight and create greater interest in this necessary business tactic.”
Sharla Warren, vice president of conference services, eventPower, explained the role that social media can play in networking without it becoming a detractor. The use of mobile applications such as Trip Builder and Double Dutch allow professionals to connect before an event and stay connected during and after, while allowing hosts to optimize their event and engage directly.
“Networking is an art and requires work, practice, concentration and good habits. It’s asking who is going to be there, what do I want to accomplish and what do I want to walk away with?” said John Potterton, operations manager, FMC Technologies.
Included in the white paper is a useful pullout on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of networking.
The next edition of “Meeting Discoveries” will publish in summer 2014.