Do Chamber Meetings Still Beat LinkedIn for Networking?

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Which types of networking are most successful? A recently available survey of 12,000 people all over the world confirmed a few of my hunches but produced some surprising results, aswell.

Within research for the book, Business Networking and Sex: Not EVERYTHING YOU Think (Entrepreneur Press, 2012), my co-authors and I asked people what forms of organizations they participate in and whether networking played a job within their success. We cross-tabulated the leads to determine how effective several types of networking are.

As we’d expected, individuals who get the most results from networking efforts appear to take part in face-to-face casual-contact networks like chambers of commerce, referral networks, also to a smaller extent, professional associations.

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We were surprised, however, that only 27 percent of the respondents said online networking has played a job within their success. Networking through women’s business organizations and through service clubs fared a whole lot worse, with only 17.7 percent and 17.2 percent of respondents, respectively, providing them with credit for playing a component within their success.

Despite the fact that they didn’t prosper in this survey, I’m quite an advocate of internet, women’s business organizations and service clubs. I did so some considering why these groups received such low-success ratings.

I’m inclined to trust women’s organizations and service clubs didn’t prosper because they have other important purposes that take precedence over networking. Women’s business groups often give a place where members both support and educate one another, while service clubs focus primarily on providing service to the city. People, therefore, might not experience as much tangible success in networking efforts in these groups.

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The survey results for internet made me think about a comment I hear frequently from business owners who would like to market their products on social and business networking sites: "I’ve got a profile page and one thousand connections…now what?" Many entrepreneurs spend lots of time and effort building their online social capital through LinkedIn "connections," Facebook "friends" and "likes," and Twitter "followers," but lack a genuine arrange for turning the growing number of contacts into customers.

Another issue for online networking: the exponential upsurge in marketing and social messages and your competition for people’s attention. Throughout a typical day, we would be chatting on Google Talk, looking at friends’ photos on Facebook, watching a celebrity’s Twitter feed, studying a connection’s promotion on LinkedIn, reading a blog for business or pleasure, and doing an Search on the internet. We are inundated and easily distracted by these entreaties: Read this! Buy this! Try out this! Connect to me! Like my business!

I certainly don’t believe entrepreneurs should stop finding methods to enhance their success in the web networking arena. However the email address details are the results, and — still a surprise if you ask me — they’re of low quality.

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