As a consultant who originally focused only on teaching in-person networking strategies when my company was launched in 2006, I can't help but be fascinated by my own shift in attitude when it comes to online networking. It's been such a treat to study the nuances of online networking and how it impacts our IRL (in real life) relationships. The marketplace has changed so significantly over the last several years. If you don't have a comprehensive online strategy to complement your in-person networking efforts, you have a recipe for failure.
The technologies available to us are transforming every day and impact how we do business, but the foundational principles of business and networking don't change. In the first edition of Business Cards to Business Relationships, released in 2008, my comments on social networking sites only garnered a couple of paragraphs in the General Business Etiquette chapter, which seems unimaginable today. At the time, I wasn't a huge fan of online networking (which also seems unimaginable) because I'd built my network the old-fashioned way, making real, in-person connections.
As online networking sites grew in popularity I was asked by clients where they fit in the overall business-development strategy. My role as a columnist and blogger for Sun Media meant that I couldn't just ignore it as another trend that didn't interest me. I had to give online networking a chance to prove itself one way or another. I realized that by ...