Fringe Box



Claire’s Column – Nice To Meet You

Published on: 14 Apr, 2014
Updated on: 14 Apr, 2014

In this regular column – a must-read for all those interested in Guildford business – Claire Dee waves the flag for face-to-face networking.

Claire Dee

Claire Dee

Next month (May 14) sees the return of the business exhibition Guildford Means Business. Now in its sixth year, the event is an established date in the local business calendar and as a result attracts more than 100 exhibitors and many more visitors. This is in part due to it being very well organised and marketed and a source of good stands, speakers, seminars and workshops. But it’s also down to one core component: face-to-face networking.

Yes, we live in an e-enabled social media digital age, but we also live in the real world with real people. And, I’m pleased to say, people still like to meet other people; in person.

I know this as a fact from my own experience as a Surrey business owner. People buy from people. If you meet someone you like and they are selling a product or service you require, you do business. It’s simple but it works, and it’s been happening for years. But don’t just take my word for it.

Professional services giant EY recently announced that face-to-face networking still rules in the online age. An EY poll of more than 750 professionals found face-to-face contact remains the preferred way to network, despite the increasing availability of online networking tools. Across all respondents, 56% network in person, followed by email (44%), online/social networks (33%) and finally telephone (28%). And of those who do network in person, 71% describe it as “very valuable”.

Julia Hobsbawm, author of the EY whitepaper Fully Connected, commented: “In the sea of digital overload, people crave human connection, either one-to-one, or one-to-many. The ability to connect with another human, to develop trust, understanding, faith, belief and a relationship, happens best face-to-face.”

So there you go.  By all means embrace LinkedIn, Twitter, email and phone (to name a few), but don’t underestimate the value of a genuine ‘whites of the eyes’ meeting and a chance to say “nice to meet you”.

Claire Dee runs her own communications consultancy near Guildford and is an active member of the local business community including sitting on the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Council.  To learn more visit

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