Recently I’ve been puzzled by the following question: what is the best way to approach networking and to connect with people and companies that will help you survive in this competitive world?

I’ve connected with a lot of professionals through social networks (for instance twitter and linkedin), I also collaborate in open source projects in sites such as codeplex and github. The tools provided by those networks allow me connect with people as near as home or as far as another continent, keeping track of any interaction, learning and sharing knowledge.

But what happens with real human interaction, putting a face to each of those user names, In-Person networking?

My experience as an Offshore Project Manager at HexaSystems Corporation has shown me that when you can meet these digital connections and at least have a face to face conversation, the trust in the relation increases and therefore is more valuable for you and your business.

So a good approach could be to first establish In-Person connections and continue the relation through online tools. This is where Microsoft WPC helps. An annual conference where Microsoft brings its partners the opportunity to experiment with new technologies, acquire knowledge and make connections between partners and Microsoft staff.

These year WPC offers a new tool called WPC Connect Wall where you can build partner relationships, discover new opportunities to drive innovation, and even search and schedule meetings with the people you are looking for.

So it seems that the best networking is a result of the combination of the “old” In-Person way of establishing connections and the “2.0” online approach.

Hope it helps!