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10 Entrepreneurs Explain How They See Networking Changing in the Next 5-10 Years

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The networking field is evolving everyday. To leap the best from your network you have to look at it as relationships building process rather than ‘what’s in for me?’ Building relationships has been proven to yield trust within the network and ultimately the best leads. LinkedIn is one of the platforms where you can build your network. We asked entrepreneurs how they see networking changing in the next 5-10 years and here are the responses.

#1- Rise of insincerity

The biggest networking challenge I can foresee is the ever-increasing insincerity of online “friends.” If you’ve been heavily involved in business networking before, you’ve likely already encountered the numerous fake accounts, sales bots, and those looking only to add a number to their friends’ list. Genuine entrepreneurs and business owners seek genuine connections—those genuine connections are being overshadowed and swallowed by the sheer number of fakes. Though networking online can save time, it’s becoming a hive for free followers and fake friends. In the next few years, there will likely be a high demand for a new hub where sincere business owners and entrepreneurs can connect without having to deal with frauds.

Thanks to Landon Taylor, BestCompany.com!

#2- Elimination of geographical restrictions

Photo Credit: David Blacker

In the next 5 to 10 years, collaborating and networking remotely will be more of the norm with a focus on specialization. Think digital networks based on career specialty, interest and goals. With today’s technology only becoming more advanced and user-friendly, individuals will reap the benefits of eliminating geographical restrictions.

Thanks to David Blacker, AirGigs.com!

#3- Shift in the emphasis of interpersonal events

Photo Credit: Kristine Neil

Networking will continue to be vital as social connection will always be a chief driver of activity in many areas of life and business. What will shift, however, is the emphasis on local, physical, interpersonal events. We are already seeing the rise of virtual networking opportunities, as well as national and global networking organizations. The shift to digital experiences will open networking up in a way that a conference or a professional organization hasn’t before: it will remove the typical local, or industry, filter that networking events and organizations organize around now. For service and creative businesses this will only continue to open up new business development opportunities through networking. Enterprising organizations will even dedicate some of their resources to facilitating this kind of global, open, digital networking.

Thanks to Kristine Neil, Markon Brands!

#4- Building of relationships

Photo Credit: Jonathan Monroe

Where networking occurs isn’t going to change much over the next 5 – 10 years, we’re already online and we already have enough venues for events. However, networking is currently treated like a job board. People don’t want to be there, it’s transactional and most engage based on a short-term need. For networking to be effective, you must build a meaningful relationship which takes time. Culturally, people prefer a relationship. As businesses moves to create this feeling, as covered in HBR, we’ll see it translate through to the way people do business. What interest and experiences are shared, building trust will be central and as a result the stigma behind networking will be reduced.

Thanks to Jonathan Monroe, Chet World!

#5- Perfect connections online

Photo Credit: Gayle Carson

I believe most networking will be done online through zoom or whatever the latest thing is. It is done face to face, can be a conversation first set up through email if necessary, however since people’s schedules will continue to get busier and busier, and traffic is unreal in many cities, this makes the perfect connection. It will not completely replace in-person meetings, but it will have a major impact.

Thanks to Dr. Gayle Carson, The Spunky Old Brand!

#6- Virtual handshakes and speed networking

Photo Credit: Sherrie Wilkolaski

There is nothing better than connecting with someone, in person. It trumps everything other than a personal introduction or referral. I see the digital horizon expanding for the business networking market. Apps that provide a platform for business professionals to speed date their way into establishing new business relationships are sure to be plentiful. No need to head down to the local business after hours event, you’ll be able to connect directly from your mobile device. I don’t expect we’ll cease in-person networking functions, I do think we’ll be integrating with more digital events, which widens the opportunity to connect with people all over the world.

Thanks to Sherrie Wilkolaski, Luxe Beat Magazine!

#7- Two ways

Photo Credit: Carolyn Mann

I believe networking is going to continue to become more niched and specific in the coming years. We are all busy and have little time for generic networking events where the audience isn’t necessarily a fit for your business. Also, I think there is going to be a greater facilitation of online & offline relationships, right now when you meet someone in real life and they follow up online sets you apart from the crowd and facilitates further discussions.

Thanks to Carolyn Mann, Larch & Lake Consulting!

#8- Internet usage

Photo Credit: Nate Masterson

The old ways still work just fine, but as more people transition to the internet, more interaction will take place there. That includes networking. Really smart forward thinking companies have not only a Facebook but have a Youtube channel and give unsolicited advice. But don’t stop there be active on every platform you can. By being active you allow yourself the most exposure to the outside world. The major noticeable trend in the last twenty years is that this internet thing is a bigger deal than we can possibly fathom. There hasn’t been a bigger since the advent of electricity or the printing press. It changes everything. The advantage we have with the internet is that we have the capability to connect with people on the other side of the globe. Taking your business to such a versatile domain is a no-brainer. The more content you pump out, the more exposure you’ll get. The more exposure you, get the more connections you’ll make. It’s simple arithmetic

Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!

#9- Better educated networkers

Photo Credit: Grant van der Harst

The people attending networking events are going to be better educated on how to network with people more effectively. Currently, universities and colleges aren’t particularly focusing on educating students on how to prosper at networking events (although I believe that this will begin to happen), but networking is going to remain an important activity for small businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage. To ensure that their networking efforts are remaining effective, businesses will begin spending more time training their employees for networking events, meaning we are likely to see a workforce that is more polished in how to get the best out of these events. They are going to know the right way to act, the right
questions to ask and the right people to talk to.

Thanks to Grant van der Harst, Anglo Liners!

#10- More social networks

Photo Credit: Dr. Jason Attaman

I think old-fashioned in-person networking will see a renaissance in the coming years. As concerns about privacy and cyber-security grow, and as professionals’ interest in social media becomes less “How do I get plugged-in?” and more “How do I escape all the noise?” we’ll see more social networks meant for people who already have an offline connection to each other. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thanks to Dr. Jason Attaman

How do you see networking changing in the next 5-10 years? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

About Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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