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  • Writer's pictureBrent Imai

Business Networking Events Are Overrated 

Updated: Feb 7

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s not what you know but who you know”. We’ve gone to countless networking events, passed out our cards and tried to make new business contacts. But then the pandemic shut the world of business networking down. During that time, we couldn’t wait to get back to meeting in person. 

But the truth is those networking events were never a great way to build business relationships. It felt more like a marketplace with everyone trying to sell their products and services.  We collected cards but most of them ended up in a desk drawer and few resulted in ongoing connections. The old-fashioned way of building relationships just wasn't cutting it in the digitally connected business world.

Today, we're living in a social media world where relationships are developed and maintained online. The narrative has shifted from "sell me something" to "provide value first." People are reluctant to spend hours at events where they make few connections that lead to business. It’s clear that a better, more efficient method is needed.

Enter the online community platform, a game-changer in building ongoing business connections. While in-person meetings still hold value for making those crucial first impressions, the real work of cultivating relationships now happens online. If your chamber of commerce is relying solely on in-person interactions, it might be missing out on the chance to get credit for developing the ongoing relationships members are building on platforms like LinkedIn or through email and text messages.

For chambers, it's time to reevaluate the value of networking events as a prime member benefit. Traditional networking might not be delivering the desired ROI, and the time and effort invested could be better directed elsewhere. Introducing an online community platform as part of your member benefits can be a transformative step in serving a new generation of business leaders.

Building relationships takes time, and the key is to shift away from the forced exchange of business cards to a more natural and value-driven approach. Online community platforms facilitate the exchange of information and mutual assistance, allowing professionals to genuinely help each other. It's about providing real value in response to people's needs, rather than engaging in forced conversations over cocktails.

One of the significant perks of online community platforms is the ease with which others can recommend you based on the value you provide. When professionals find authentic help and expertise within a community, they're more than happy to share those resources with their network. This organic referral system thrives on the authenticity of relationships developed online, eliminating any concerns about your ability to get the job done.

Bringing your organization into today’s digital world means acknowledging that social media is the new norm, especially for younger members. Failing to provide a platform for online relationship-building can create an outdated impression of your chamber of commerce. In a world where professionals expect to cultivate connections online, chambers need to adapt to remain not just relevant but truly valuable to their members.

The era of traditional networking is being replaced by a more efficient approach that mirrors the way people want to interact. By embracing online community platforms, chambers of commerce can provide a vibrant and effective way for members to connect, exchange valuable information, and build lasting professional relationships.

Get Started

Deciding to implement an online community platform is not just a technological upgrade for chambers of commerce; it's a strategic move towards building a dynamic, engaged, and interconnected business community. By activating members through this digital space, chambers can unlock a myriad of opportunities that enhance networking, education, advocacy, and overall chamber effectiveness. As the business landscape continues to evolve, online communities prove to be indispensable tools for chambers of commerce looking to stay relevant and impactful in today's business environment.

Building and managing a robust online community isn't just about selecting a technology platform. To get the best ROI and member satisfaction you need to develop an engagement strategy and create workflows that encourage engagement between members and creates useful content for members. If you need assistance beginning your online community journey, we are here to help.



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