Do you still have to network in person? I mean who doesn’t like attending virtual meetings in pajamas? Although, tools like Zoom have become pretty popular (and convenient) since the pandemic hit, I have to admit that the last few years have felt a little bit like a bad role-playing game for me.

I can tell you from experience, there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face encounter. In the last year, I’ve relearned that meeting people in real life provides opportunities for spontaneity and authentic conversations that can never happen behind a screen. The connections I’ve made over the last few months alone are actively changing my business and my life almost daily.

Here are a few reasons to put on some pants, grab a pocketful of business cards and head out to meet people who could potentially change your life or at least be a talking point over dinner with friends.

Avoid becoming a hermit crab: Talking to people is a skill and if you don’t practice it, well, you end up being that awkward guy looking creepy in the corner. Use it or lose it!

Decode the mysterious language of eyebrows: Video calls don’t quite convey the enigmatic dance of eyebrows that reveals a person’s true intentions. I think we’ve all learned to be a little more guarded in front of a camera. Explore your eyebrow-reading superpower by networking in person.

Break free from the Matrix: Step away from your computer screen and experience the exhilarating sensation of actual human interaction. It’s like a virtual reality game, but without the headset-induced headaches.

Trade emojis for real emotions: Sure, digital hugs and thumbs-up emojis are cute and all, but nothing beats the warm fuzzies of a real hand shake or a high-five. Get your daily dose of emotional connection by networking face-to-face.

Expand your network beyond your cat: I’m sure your cat is a great listener, but networking in person lets you meet real people who can offer more than just grumpy looks and cat fur in your keyboard.

Master the art of simultaneous talking and chewing: In-person networking hones your multitasking skills as you attempt to balance networking conversations while gracefully munching on hors d’oeuvres. It’s like a live-action version of “Dinner with the Stars.”

Think of it as weird science: In-person networking lets you put your skills of observation to the test. Can you decipher body language, interpret facial expressions, and uncover the mysteries of human communication? Think of it as an experiment in human interaction.

Upgrade your wardrobe: I know, I know. I love my stretchy pants too. But there is something to be said for a nice pair of kakis or a cute dress. You don’t have to look like a runway model. I often opt for jeans and a button down. Done. Rockstar.

Remember, while online networking has its advantages, nothing beats the charm, quirks, and laughter of in-person interactions. You can always put your jammies back on and pull out the bag of chips you left next to your bed when you get home.

What great networking experiences have you had this year?

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