FREE professional networking event open to Phoenix community

PHOENIX - In the world of social media and online networking, it's easy to "friend," "follow" or "connect" with someone online, but still, nothing beats a real life handshake.

"It's easy to sit behind a computer and find people you want to connect with online, but in order to meet potential new clients, find a job and truly 'connect,' a face-to-face meeting is just as important," said Gelie Akhenblit, founder and chief executive officer of NetworkingPhoenix.com .

NetworkingPhoenix.com's Signature Events are an excellent platform for Valley residents to do just that. Those who attend can meet other professionals face-to face in a casual business environment. Being able to successfully network online and offline, gives professionals a much better chance at achieving their goals.

Below are some frequently asked questions that NetworkingPhoenix.com gets when it comes to social networking.

I have a Facebook/LinkedIn account, but do I still need to meet people face-to-face?

Answer: Absolutely! While it's great to connect with people online, it's always best to connect after you've already met someone face-to-face. This strengthens the connection and increases the chances of this person willing to help you with your venture. Of course, it's not always possible to meet someone in person first, so connecting online is a great option. Keep in mind, that if you are connecting to someone online without truly knowing him/her, make sure to establish a reason for the connection and work on building a relationship.

What should I do after attending a networking event to get results?

Answer: After attending a networking event, always make sure to follow up. It's best to follow up within 72 hours (about 3 days) of meeting someone. During this time frame, you are still "fresh" in their mind. You can follow up via email and or send a connection request on LinkedIn. Always include a personal note when sending a LinkedIn request.  Not everyone uses Facebook for networking purposes, so I recommend starting with LinkedIn. Some people don't necessarily want to "friend" everyone on Facebook, but they have their subscriber status on. This option allows individuals to subscribe to someone's public posts.

I have sent my resume to a few local companies in town. How can meeting people at an event like NetworkingPhoenix.com's help me connect with the hiring managers of these local companies?

Answer: If you know which companies you are targeting, then that's what you should talk about at the NetworkingPhoenix.com Signature Event. When you meet new people at this event and you are engage in conversation, share that you have sent your resume to company XYZ and you're hoping to meet someone tonight that might have a connection there. You'll be surprised at how small the Valley can be when it comes to finding out who knows who.

I have a small venture I'm trying to work on alongside my day job. Can an event like NetworkingPhoenix.com's help me meet people to grow my business venture?

Answer:  Yes. If you're looking to meet potential clients for your side venture or like-minded individuals, then networking events are the perfect place to do so.  When I first decided I wanted to have my own company, I started attending networking events to learn more about the entrepreneurial world and to "test" out my ideas on people that are not my family/friends. Not only did my professional network grow rapidly, but I was able to refine my ideas by the time I actually launched this company.

Why is it important for me to marry my social networking and in-person networking when it comes to business? What can I expect from doing so?

Answer: It's important to simultaneously network online and offline because meeting people in person creates more of a connection; staying connected with them online, builds on the relationship. People within your network are more likely to help you if they feel like they know you well, so staying connected online has become an important piece in today's "networking world."

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