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  • Writer's pictureBen Paul

Added Importance of Networking in the Age of AI

In some shape or form, most people and firms are using AI directly. Or even if they are not, they are certainly interacting with it. Business has always been about exploring greater efficiencies and reducing costs/overheads in a way that maximises profit.

While recent years have seen a shift for businesses to have social outcome goals, the need for profit to fund these aims remains. This is one of the many reasons why the use of AI (now that technology has advanced and become more trusted) is much more widespread.

Yet, for professional services – which is such a people-led service industry – the need for human interaction remains high. While AI can undoubtedly help in the service delivery phase, or even in some basic communications (the progress in even the ubiquitous chatbot has been immeasurable) there is still a need for genuine and empathetic human connection.

While the need for human interaction is true in the service delivery phase, it is even more crucial in the client acquisition stage. Prospective clients are much more likely to relate to other humans, and ultimately as they are making the decision, you need to build a relationship with them.

With more in-person networking events and conferences being run, and a desire from people to attend these, they are a great way to start re-energising your client interactions and developing your conversational skills.

Time to dust off those networking skills

The last few years have seen more people working from home. This is great, but it can be rather isolating for some. It also means that some people who typically like to focus on work rather than socialising become more fearful of large events and human interaction.

Even if you aren’t fearful, the less you practice something, the worse you get at it. For example, if you tend to dominate conversations or talk over people, you’ll fall back into these habits if you haven’t been actively social for a while.

The good news is, much like riding a bike, if you start attending more in-person events, you’ll soon develop good habits and pick up those old skills. If you need some help doing so, you can always read our 10 tips on networking, or you may even be able to catch one of our in-person training courses, which are advertised on our events page.

Either way, it’s a great idea to book some conferences or networking events as soon as possible.

Authenticity vs. AI

If AI is the current buzzword or widely discussed theme in the business world, then authenticity can’t be far behind it. The fact these two themes are currently being debated is that if the machines do rise (and there is further debate as to whether they will aid job creation or be job takers), going forward the thing that will set us humans apart is our emotions.

Sharing who we are and how we feel with others, openly and authentically helps to engender trust. The ability to talk things through at both a logical and emotional level is ultimately what separates us from machines.

One last thing, sales is emotional

For any fans of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” this last heading will resonate. Because it is true. Think of any purchase you have made and how it made you feel. The reality is (and countless studies show this), we don’t just purchase on logic, but rather, on emotion. Many products are bought to make us feel good, or happier about ourselves.

If someone is buying services, then they will decide not just on the logical factors but also on a gut feel for the potential service provider, and also whether they believe they will enjoy their company or working with them. This means, even in the age of AI, or perhaps even more so, developing client relationships and investing time in networking is not only a great idea but incredibly essential.


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