Technology has transformed the art of networking. Today’s professionals rely less on meet-and-greets and more on Internet-driven channels to make connections and capitalize on opportunities. And with technology rapidly evolving, networking two years from now will look much different than it does today—and the biggest catalyst for the future shift is your smartphone.
Professional Discovery Goes Mobile
"Professional discovery" occurs when technology brings two or more professionals (salespeople or executives, entrepreneurs or corporate businesspeople, job seekers or employers) together for a shared business opportunity. Another name for this is “engineered serendipity,” which typically relies on factors beyond common relationships. In professional discovery, opportunities are usually discovered in real time and facilitated through technology and mobile apps that blend location data with big data, creating a proactive approach to networking.
The advanced technologies and data accessibility of today’s smartphones, combined with the sheer density of their user base, means that professional discovery can happen anywhere. You could make a connection while you’re shopping, sitting at the coffee shop or watching your favorite show at home. In the very near future, you’ll be notified every time a new business opportunity comes your way, and you’ll be able to instantly research the contact, make an initial connection and set up an avenue to pursue the relationship further.
Let’s say you’re looking for a programmer with a very specific skill set. Instead of spending long hours engaging in hundreds of conversations and filtering through resumes to find the handful of candidates who qualify for an interview, your smartphone will be able to alert you when someone matching your requirements is within range, and you can then focus your energy on that person. A job seeker can then use the same process to target and engage the right recruiters. With professional discovery powered by smartphones, people on both ends of a business opportunity stand to benefit.
Future of Networking
Our smartphones are already changing the way we interact and meet people. Smartphones already have the ability to let users know when they’re in range of a potential contact. Take Tinder, the dating app, for example. This app uses a person’s location to generate possible connections who are within a 25- to 100-mile range. It’s only a matter of time until business and professional apps follow this trend.
Wearable technology, such as Google Glass, is another major development ushering users into the era of professional discovery. With the integration of facial recognition combined with big data, professionals will soon have a wealth of information in front of them the minute they walk into a conference room. In fact, one company is already making this idea a reality. The Google Glass app NameTag has the ability to scan the face of any person captured in Glass’s feed and compare it against photos from social sites, providing details that range from a person’s name and occupation to his latest post on Instagram.
After looking at the strides already being made within professional discovery, it seems it won’t be long before a person can simply scan a room and identify the best potential business connections. Soon, networkers will thrive in a world where every connection is serendipitous and every conversation is capable of leading to a deeper relationship.
Janis Krums is the co-founder of Opprtunity, a lead generation tool that looks outside your network to find you qualified leads. He is also a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
Read more articles on networking.
Photo: Getty Images