10 Enlightening Statistics you may Not Have Known About Networking and Face-to-Face Communications
The business world is having to change drastically to cater to society’s acceptance of the digital age. Nowadays, it’s more common for business meetings to be held virtually. Having half the attendees on laptops or tablets across many different countries, whilst the other half are sat around a table in a conference room is now a standardised setup for most business meetings.
Whilst yes, this new meeting style is extremely beneficial for obvious reasons. However, on the flip side, it does have its disadvantages. The importance of meeting in person shouldn’t ever be underestimated. If you’re not convinced that face-to-face networking is a powerful medium in business, then check out these statistics. I can guarantee after reading this, you will network face-to-face whenever possible!
Let’s start with some networking statistics:
1. First Impressions Matter! (Who Knew?)
We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but in business, it pays to make sure you pay attention to how you present yourself to any potential business associate. A staggering 72% of professionals surveyed said their first impressions are impacted by someone’s appearance as well as their handshake.
Wearing professional clothing that also reflects your own personal style will show respective business associates that you want to be taken seriously, but you also want them to see who you are as a person. A strong, confident handshake will also resonate more with potential clients more than a weak, limp and lifeless one. So when you’re out networking, make sure you look and act the part and you can go a long way.
2. It’s WHO You Know…
According to a recent report, almost 80% of jobs aren’t published, yet a vast amount of people job hunting spend 80% of their time searching for jobs on the internet rather than venturing outside and talking to employers.
Though we live in a digital age - and we would almost expect most people find their jobs online - it actually turns out that 85% of jobs are actually filled through networking! Therefore, people who talk directly to employers and get their name out there are far more likely to get a job than those who merely sit behind a computer screen.
3. Time is of the Essence
No matter what business you’re in, no day will necessarily be the same. You might have planned out your whole day and allocated yourself a good chunk of time to networking, but an important call, an urgent meeting and many other external factors mean time set for networking purposes gets eaten away at.
It turns out that this is a common problem, as 41% professionals have expressed they want to network more frequently, but simply don’t have the free time to do so.
However, there are ways to overcome this dilemma. It’s recommended that professionals should try and spend as much as ⅕ of their time on networking activities - meeting new people, strengthening existing relationships, etc - as well as use their free time such as coffee and lunch breaks to meet at least five people every week.
4. Face-to-Face Networking is Still Valued by the Younger Generation
The average age for entry-level professionals is between 21-30. As this age bracket played a key role in the evolution of the digital age, it would be natural to assume that they would more likely prefer virtual interactions… but that is not the case.
It turns out 68% of junior/entry-level professionals value face-to-face networking more than online - which is the highest percentage out of any level surveyed. What does this mean to the business world? Well, this percentage certainly adds validity to the importance of networking and to the need to grow your network through personal interactions.
5. Not all of Us are Trying to Connect
25% of professionals across all levels have admitted they don’t network at all! This seems like quite a high percentage; as the majority of entry-level professionals see networking as the best way to further their careers; managerial level employees see it as the most useful means of broadening their knowledge, and directors feel that networking is the best way to discover new business opportunities.
These statistics should show us that people not only see networking as a need but also see it as a way to add value to their careers. So to help increase the amount of professionals networking, Professor Julia Hobsbawm has provided some top tips on how to be a better networker. To help get the ball rolling, Hobsbawm believes that professionals should have a network of 150 business associates, as we can only hold stable relationships with that amount of people. So to ensure professionals have a successful network, they should work out who their top 150 will be and then take the time to build strong working relationships, which will strengthen any professional’s career development.
Now onto some face-to-face communication statistics:
1. Small Meetings are the Next Big Thing
A study conducted by Imago and Loughborough University School of Business and Economics - in which favoured forms of communication for learning new skills, retaining important information and enhancing business success were examined - found that nine out of 10 people say that small meetings are their favourite communication method.
This is because of a few factors. During face-to-face meetings, our brains will process the nonverbal cues that humans tend to portray when communicating with others, and we will use this to build a trusting professional relationship.
We can also gain a vast amount of information from face-to-face interaction, as only 7% of the message taken from a conversation is from the words that have been used. We get pretty much all the message from facial expressions, inflexions, vocal tone and body language. We also gain immediate feedback from face-to-face interactions, allowing us to interpret if our ideas are well received or not.
2. A Change of Scenery is Generally More Appealing
Many jobs nowadays involve employees being sat at a desk staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day. However, thanks to the invention of the laptop, mobile and tablet, professionals can simply pick up their devices and work pretty much anywhere they like.
In fact, seven out of 10 millennials believe that going into the office to work isn’t a necessity anymore! Gmail, messaging apps, Skype, SMS messaging and other digital advancements allow professionals to communicate to respective employees and clients and partake in business meetings from the comfort of their own homes.
3. In-Person Meetings are Still the Number One Choice
Whilst millennials may not like going to the office, the rest of the population actually prefer it, as 84% people have revealed they prefer in-person meetings.
This is due to a number of reasons; 85% of people polled said they preferred this style of meeting because they feel they build stronger and more meaningful business relationships; whilst 75% of people believe that these meetings allow more time for social interaction and enable them to bond with more co-workers and clients.
4. In-Person Meetings: the Hub of Creativity
In-person meetings conjure up more ideas than virtual meetings. Remote or virtual meetings generate on average 10.43 ideas, whilst in-person meetings generate an average of 13.36.
Ideas may be easier to generate in person as working directly with clients allows us to bounce ideas off one another and also allows for more complex strategic thinking. Meetings that are conducted face-to-face create a better environment for tough, timely making decisions; poor ideas can get dismissed quickly, creating more room for the development of innovative ideas.
5. Travel is Worth the Investment
As we can now connect with people across the globe through mediums like Skype and FaceTime, many companies see travel as a waste of money, when actually it’s not!
Spending on travel actually earns a company more money in the long run. According to a recent study, every dollar companies invest in travel, they will receive on average $12.50 in value, and the average company would lose 17% of its profits if they completely eliminated all forms of business travel. So taking the time out to travel is definitely worth the time…. and money!
We will be holding the largest sales Expo in Europe at London's ExCeL next March and would love to see you all there!
If you are also interested in exhibiting at this massive event then please contact Gavin Harris on +44 (0) 1872 218007