Networking in real life: Why you need to get out from behind your screen

Are you hiding behind your computer?

Are you hiding behind your computer?

How much time do you spend networking with people in real life at events you actually dress up for, drive to and attend in person?

Social media makes it possible for you to network with anyone in the world from the comfort of your home office, but if you’re not making an effort to put a face to your name and give people a chance to get to know the “real” you, you may be missing opportunities to build your credibility and profile.

This year, I have chosen the word “visibility” as my theme-word for the year. I realised that, last year, I hardly attended a networking event in person and my goal is to attend at least one a month this year.

There’s a big reason for this change and I wanted to share it with you, because it’s taken a lot for me to even admit it. Sitting behind my screen has been highly productive but it has also kept me from reaching my potential, and building confidence in myself as a business owner. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it has been damaging. It’s easy to hide behind a profile picture on Twitter or Facebook or a comment on LindedIn.

You may not know this, but over the past few months I have been quietly working away on losing weight. I have struggled with my weight a lot over the past six or so years,  but last year I was the heaviest I had ever been–a whopping 105kg. I believe that spending so much time on the computer has contributed to this.

Here’s what changed things for me. A few months ago, my husband went to the doctors for a routine prescription. The doctor took his blood pressure and it was so high, she didn’t want him to leave the surgery until they had more conclusive results. Apparently, he was at imminent risk of a massive stroke. Now, my husband is only 45, so this was a massive wakeup call for the both us to make some changes.

We committed to getting our weight back to a healthy level and we’re doing well. I’ve lost about 9kg overall and my husband has lost about 10kg. It’s a slow process when you lose weight the healthy way (no crash diets for us), but I am starting to feel lighter and happier as well, because I’m doing something positive rather than wallowing in guilt for eating too much or not exercising. I’ve also started doing the Couch to 5K and am up to week 6. I don’t think I’ve ever run more than 1km straight before, so this is a jolt to my body but it keeps me motivated to exercise.

Anyway, while I was busy sitting behind my computer and hiding from the world, I was also making excuses not to attend real life events. The thing is, when i did attend live events, I always came away feeling joyful to have met people I have worked with and networked with online.

There is so much you can learn about people by meeting them face-to-face and it is also a good opportunity for you to fine-tune your elevator pitch (your 25 second statement telling people what you do and why you’re interesting).

So, I want to invite you to to join me in the “visibility” challenge this year and start growing your business by attending live events. You might even be able to host your own live event.

What can you do this year to get out from behind your computer screen? Why not share below?

  • Kerryanne Farrer

    You have my support Cas! I agree we spend too much time on the computer. You are I are going to actually catch up in person more this year since we are practically neighbours! LOL! I have a lot of admiration for you as a person and a business woman. I agree that when you are feeling isolated and low as a WAHP the lift and inspiration you get from meeting with other business people far out weighs the gravitational pull to stay at home. Push through and get out and about for your health and your sanity.

    • Cas McCullough

      Awww thanks KA! Can’t wait to paint the town yellow with you!

  • Rodney Bukuya

    I had a very similar thing this year Cas, I’ve also decided to publicly network at minimum once per month, hopefully more as I spent most of last year hiding from the world.

    I’ve learned to enjoy the relative safety of ‘behind the screen’ networking and in fact justified it by convincing myself that people would stop thinking there was anything impressive about the man behind the blog once they actually got to meet me.

    On the health front, I had some injuries I had to nurse last year and my doctors have had me out of the gym since February and so my weight has spiralled out of control.

    I have never been bigger than I am right now but some of my issues have started to clear and it’s time to start the journey back from fat 2 fit. I even decided to start a new blog about the journey, complete with awkward “Before” photos.

    I look forward to meeting you sometime this year, in person, at a public event, both feeling fitter and healthier.

    • Cas McCullough

      Hey Rodney, thanks for your comment. I look forward to meeting you in person too!

  • Jane

    Cas, who ARE YOU? I just found you on google while searching small business social media bloggers and I LOVE what you’re up to. I take it that you are in Australia? I’m in Los Angeles. I’m just launching my blog and business and you are really an inspiration to me. Check my brand new blog out – it’s only just born. Anyway, I send you a huge HELLO and look for ward to reading your blog now that I’ve subscribed.

    • Cas McCullough

      Hey Jane, thanks for visiting. I just checked out your blog and what a great start! Do you know about Triberr? There are a some awesome blogging groups on there.

  • Kathy Davis

    Great post, I hope it reaches many people and encourages them to get healthy. Glad your husband is ok, how scary! I have 3 boys and we just graduated my eldest from homeschool. Lots in common! Except for the snake. just typing the word gives me shivers.