Today was my first day at an in-person networking event for Women’s Expo Philadelphia. I’m lying. I have done in-person networking events before but for some reason this felt like the first time. The reason is probably because it was my first Expo.
Anyway, as an introvert, I much prefer virtual networking. I will explain why. The Expo was a nice experience but it wasn’t what I expected. When we first came in, there were women at the front table waiting to greet us. They suggested that we sign in or drop our business cards if we have them. Then the ladies gave no further instructions!
My sister accompanied me and we both walked over towards the backdrop where women business owners were taking pictures. My sister and I stood back because we had no idea what to do. There was another group of women ahead of us who were clueless as well. It was their first expo too. My sister and I stopped to get our picture taken and then we walked into the hallway.
The vendors were set up in one room while the keynote speakers were setup in the other. We were both shy about walking into the room of vendors. Then a kind face smiled at my sister and I and she explained her business. She designed this really cool technology that helps you cook when you don’t have the time or don’t know how to. I personally don’t enjoy cooking or make time for it being that I’m building my business and all. Anyway, her product looked like a crockpot. She gave my sister and I a ticket to participate in a raffle to win a prize. Overall, she was very warm, sweet, and fun.
She gave me her business card and I gave her mine. I told her I wrote my book about my experience with anxiety and she explained how she does essential oils.
I honestly was nervous to hand her my business card. I felt like the smallest person in the room and anything but an authority. I could barely explain what I do because I didn’t feel seen or important. Nobody made me feel that way. It was just my own thoughts.
Anyway, my sister and I headed over to the room to listen to the first keynote speaker, Cicelo Solis, a successful digital marketer and blogger. Her presentation was about building a successful 6-figure blog organically.
Her story really resonated with me. She explained how she quit her high powered job at CNN back in 2017 because it was detrimental to her mental and physical health.
She struggled for three years in her business before she finally got things working. It took me two years myself to get a grasp of what I am doing and I am steadily working on building the business and income that I deserve.
She was in my exact same position three years ago and now she is a Seven-figure business owner. She inspired me to believe that I can be where she is in a few short years as long as I do the work. She also advised me to join a mastermind as that would expose me to like minded people that are where I want to be.
I would not have met her if I didn’t go to the in-person event. I am glad that I met her and one other lovely Keynote speaker, Rezia Luke. I also met a nice pastry chef named Shannon who I sat next to during all of the Key note Speaker sessions.
Here’s why I prefer virtual networking over In-person:
The number one reason is that you can network from the comfort of your home. Furthermore, in the virtual networking events that I’ve been to, you have no other choice but to talk to people and meet them. That’s because you are put into breakout rooms and paired with another business owner for 7 minutes. It is kind of like speed dating. In my opinion, this works best for introverts. It is more intimate and there’s no pressure to speak in front of a large crowd. Whenever I attend a virtual networking event, I meet and connect with at least 5 people.
The in-person networking event wasn’t what I expected because I thought there would be an opportunity for speed networking. There was not that I could see. We got a chance to network with the booths if we walked up to them. Other than that, the participants didn’t really get a chance to meet with each other. There were 1500 people at this event and I only met 5 of them. Five! That’s the same amount that I meet in virtual networking events. Sometimes I can meet 7 people in one virtual networking event.
Being an introvert, I had no idea how to spark up a conversation with any of the participants that weren’t in earshot range. This is a skill that I should develop and work on.
I brought 50 business cards with me thinking that I would give them all out but I gave out about 5. The good thing about my experience is I got to speak with the keynote speakers that I wanted to chat with up close and personal.
I immediately signed up for another virtual networking event for this Monday, lol. The expo will be back next year and maybe I will go now that I know what to expect. Who knows, maybe I’ll be a Keynote Speaker next year. That would be something.
Which do you prefer? In-person networking or virtual networking?