In a world where swiping through the latest app is the best way to meet someone new, the idea of networking in the traditional way can seem a bit challenging. With the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook, making first impressions in the business world seems to happen online now more than ever. Those seeking to advance their careers are wondering if the concept of networking face-to-face is dying out.

While more and more of our daily processes are moving into the virtual world, there’s still a lot of opportunities for networking in real life. Here’s a guide to navigating the world of face-to-face networking in the digital age.

Networking IRL

Networking in today’s world occurs both offline and online. While it may seem like the digital rituals of friending co-workers on Facebook or messaging a recruiter on LinkedIn have made face-to-face networking a thing of the past—this is hardly the case. Although connecting in real life may seem a bit more complicated nowadays, it is still a necessary aspect of the business world. Read on for three strategies to help you navigate the new world of networking.

1. Always Make the Best Impression

When considering the nature of face-to-face networking in today’s world, it is likely that your first interaction will be online rather than in person. If you are meeting virtually for the first time, always be sure that the first impression is a lasting one.

Don’t be afraid to be genuine online. While communicating through a typed message may seem cold and unfriendly— it doesn’t have to come off that way. Endeavour to make a real connection each time you meet someone new online. When the time comes for you to eventually meet in person, continue that same authenticity that you had in the very beginning.

2. Be Creative When Networking

Many people complain that meeting people in today’s world is more difficult than it has been for past generations. This simply isn’t true—finding ways to meet in real life comes down to getting creative about networking. With the right initiative and dedication, you can find the best events to network with others in your industry.

Search online to find local and international events for those with similar career interests as you. When you travel, look for corporate housing accommodations in the area, so you can take advantage of even more networking opportunities. Travel to industry events to connect with new people that you may have never met in person otherwise. By thinking outside the box, you’ll find different ways to reach out and meet others in your field.

3. Have a Networking Strategy

Don’t leave your networking up to chance. Instead of waiting to meet the game-changers in your industry, do your due diligence and research the right event to attend that will advance your career. While you don’t have to spend every minute of your free time planning to meet the right people, it is a good idea to set aside 15 hours each month dedicated to building professional relationships with others.

It can be tempting to let online communications take the place of real-world networking in our lives, but it shouldn’t. Use these three strategies to help you strengthen your in-person networking skills and further advance your career.

In the digital world, it’s important to take a proactive approach to keeping up with industry trends and business practices. Explore the GBM Blog for more industry news and tips for branding your business.