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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

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@Spaghetti_Jo
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Do not engage until I have devoured both

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@Spaghetti_Jo
My inbox is full of rubbish newsletters that Im constantly deleting😬 My VIP inbox is for 1 thing only- THE DIGITAL ROUNDUP🤠I dont read a Newspaper or the news online, I just wait for Fridays, when this lands in my inbox- then I know ‘The weekend has landed’🤗

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Thursday 22nd October 2020

Why Online Networking isn’t the New Normal for Me…

Business Networking, Coronavirus, COVID-19, networking, New normal, online networking

So. Lockdown. That was fun. At the time of writing (mid July 2020) we’re not out of it yet, either.

Some good things have come out of lockdown though and aside from the terrible deaths *carefully side steps sharing political opinions*, there were some great discoveries during the time we all stayed indoors.

Some found remote working truly refreshing, while others developed a Coronabelly and a hunched posture from working at the kitchen table and visiting the fridge a few too many times.

For some it was a breeze, for others it was back to the office or workplace as soon as Boris allowed.

There were many saviours of the period of time we’ll now call ‘Coronatimes’, and one clear winner in business was Zoom.

But I’m so over using Zoom for networking right now!

I’ll continue to use Zoom in my business as I did before, before it became the new normal. It’s really done a grand job, but you can keep your online networking.

You can keep it!

 

Online networking - Zoom

Why Online Networking isn’t the New Normal for Me…

Zoom fatigue

Zoom is tiring to use, and one of the reasons I’m so over Zoom is that it’s so tough to communicate on video instead of talking to people in real life.

Zoom fatigue is now a thing we all can relate to, and instead of leaving a networking meeting uplifted and exhilarated, I feel tired and obliterated after watching a screen of heads talking all over each other.

Maybe you can only do so many hours in the week? Maybe because I use it for my team catch-ups, client training, and meetings as well as networking, I’ve overdone my quota?

I don’t know, but I do know this; it’s back to old normal networking for me, after this!

 

Flesh is best

One of the reasons I used to go and meet other people at networking meetings was because I’m an extroverted individual and I crave being around other humans. It lifts me up and boosts my energy. Speaking at networking events is great fun and a lot easier than talking to 300 people on a webinar, too.

That said, some of our virtual pub goers have enjoyed being able to have a drink and a chat where they normally wouldn’t have been able to go out because of childcare, and we’re so glad we’ve been able to put on the virtual pub to keep our community connected.

But no one could say it’s as good as a chinwag in the local pub.

Speaking in public might not be everyone’s cup of tea – heck, maybe there are some budding speakers who feel safer doing it online – but speaking to a crowd versus a screen with a number in the top corner is not the same I’m afraid.

There’s no visible feedback. Comments? They’re OK, but you don’t get the energy feedback and you miss the micromovements that we’re all computing subconsciously. To communicate without that is overworking our little brains, according to boffins.

Speaking on video is a lonely, sterile experience compared to an event. I challenge anyone to convince me otherwise. Having spoken at both online and offline events for almost 10 years now I now know for certain that in person beats Zoom and GoTo Webinar hands down.

The saving of time is costing me energy

Don’t get me wrong, I love the way you can network more and still get work done. Back in my 4Networking days I would rack up 3-4 meetings a week, and although it did wonders for my profile and certainly the business in return, I would always kick myself at the time I’d spent ‘chatting’, instead of working in and on the business!

Driving is a large part of the networking investment in fuel and in time. Of course, I’m missing my Audible listening time, but the driving wasn’t really adding much to my bottom line, even though the enjoyment of a road trip still puts a smile on my face.

But… when I got to those events, oh boy! The lift you get from being around people is something that can’t be replicated online. It can get close on rare occasions, but it’s just not the same, and I won’t keep trying to convince myself otherwise.

I’m missing that real-life stuff a lot.

Jo argues that it’s quicker to get ready for an online networking event but for me it makes little difference.

It’s too easy to be rude

How many people have you seen in online networking meetings with no video, no sound, and looking simply disinterested in the event? Looking down at their phone (yes, I know I’ve done it in real networking meetings too but it’s a bit more subtle!) and sometimes just buggering off during talks or update sections.

It’s too easy to be breezy, too. Binning of an online networking event must be easier than a real life one. When Jo and I ran networking events for 4N and Connexions people just not showing up got annoying.

No shows must be rife with online networking. I like commitment. I’m a very committed kinda guy…

 

The change isn’t enough

I love my office. I really love it. But sometimes I just want a different environment. Unless I go out and get more offices, I need those networking meetings and coffee shops to freshen me up.

One of the great things about a networking meeting was the change of environment. It does wonders to your mental health and mindset. During lockdown it’s been like Groundhog Day!

Home > Co-op > Office > Co-op > Home.

These places are all within a 1-minute walk!

I love all three places but damn I miss Starbucks and all those networking meetings at the Dog and Trumpets of the UK. Not that my waistline is missing the full English breakfasts.

Bring back the old normal, before I start a Warwick meeting in the bread aisle in the Co-op!

 

Online networking might feature a little… but it’s people over data when this is all over…

I’m a people person and unless you’re a strong introvert who hates their family I’m sure you can relate to the loss of human interaction. Of course, you’ve seen the neighbours and the postman and thanks to Zoom, Remo, GoToWebinar and others you’ve been able to ‘see’ your business community, but online networking is not going to fully replace it.

I can’t wait for small business meetings and events to get back on the agenda.

What do you think? Many people I’ve spoken to about this would like some sort of hybrid. I might go 90/10 in favour of real life at a push.

How about you? Will you be keeping any online networking or meetings in future?


Tags associated with this article

Business Networking Coronavirus COVID-19 networking New normal online networking

Todd

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7 comments on this article

  • Kathy Scott at 17:26pm on July 15th 2020

    Pros to online networking include getting to meetings I may otherwise have missed because of working in a different area and so not having the time to travel there. Also, I recently did my first webinar where I was the speaker and so marginally less scary being able to put slides up and not having to memorise all of my notes than standing in front of a room of people.
    Cons are not having that human interaction face to face, free flowing conversations and reacting to body language. Also, with doing the speaking it’s weird talking to a silent screen and not seeing people or feeding off reactions.
    I would be happy with say 30/70 in favour of real life.

  • Peter Kidd at 21:35pm on July 15th 2020

    Totally agree. I attended a Zoom magic lecture tonight by a guy most of you will never have heard of – Etienne Pradier. (Yes, he’s French – or as his screen name proclaimed ‘The French Frog’.) Anyway, I have seen him lecture live, in the flesh, and he tore the room up. Tonight, the same same guy looked like he’d been neutered. Same guy. Same sense of humour. Same BRILLIANT magic. But because there was no flesh for him to work, it was painful to watch as he tried to dredge some enthusiasm through his computer screen.

    We have all been hit hard by this, but I honestly think my business, show business, has been hit hardest. You can’t entertain a computer screen. You can go through the motions, but you end up looking like a shadow of what you really are. Networking must be the same. (And let’s face it, there isn’t a bigger performer than Todd. 🙂 )

    1. Todd at 7:43am on July 16th 2020

      Exactly. I’m very grateful that we can have all these virtual options though and although it’s ‘not the same’ it’s better than nothing. God bless the entertainment industry x

  • John at 12:43pm on August 1st 2020

    Whether it’s Zoom or face to face meetings, it really doesn’t matter.

    “We must feel like actors in a bad play who cannot fulfill themselves in their limited and banal roles.”

    ~Witold Gombrowicz

    1. Todd at 12:56pm on August 1st 2020

      Love that!

  • Neil Porter at 10:59am on August 5th 2020

    I agree with this so much – there is nothing to beat real in person networking, I actively avoid online as I just find it mostly uncomfortable, yes there have been a few good events but generally I don’t bother and once we are able to do in person again I will not do any online.

    1. Todd at 11:17am on August 5th 2020

      I’ll be there with you!

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