Western Carolina University’s Division of Educational Outreach will offer a workshop on the topic “Networking Necessities: How to Build and Engage Face-to-Face and LinkedIn Contacts” from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday, June 9, at the university’s instructional site in Asheville.

Networking has long been hailed as a critical professional development activity. To achieve the greatest networking success, individuals need to build both their interpersonal and digital skill sets, says Betty Farmer, a professional consultant and professor of communication and public relations at WCU who is leading the workshop.

“We need to develop our presence both in person and online to be successful,” Farmer said. “Given the increase in online networking opportunities, some may dismiss more traditional face-to-face networking activities. That would be shortsighted. Face-to-face is still an essential networking dynamic that can lead to stronger professional relationships.

“But face-to-face strategies alone fail to harness the power of our increasingly digital world,” she said. “LinkedIn has just hit the half-billion mark. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, or don’t have a well-developed profile, you are missing a great opportunity for professional development.”

With more than 500 million registered members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. According to LinkedIn’s “About Us” company page, new members join the site at a rate of more than two per second. The network allows users to connect with other professionals, experts and groups with similar interests.

During the workshop, attendees will have an opportunity to build an “all-star” LinkedIn profile, Farmer said. She will provide guidelines for developing an engaging profile, as well as strategies for making connections and sharing information on the site.

In an interactive portion of the workshop designed to develop self-presentation skills, participants will learn more about the science behind “presence,” practice the art of “small talk” and polish an “elevator pitch,” a brief personal presentation that can be tailored to a variety of situations.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops or tablets, but a limited number of laptops will be available for use during the session.

WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach extends access to education and training through courses, programs and services for individuals and communities both locally and globally. For more information about career and professional enrichment, contact Jill Thompson at jcthompson@wcu.edu or register at pdp.wcu.edu.