I have always favored meeting people face to face. Back when I started my networking career more than 20 years ago, that's all I could do: if I couldn't meet with a prospect in person, there were very few options open to me.

I like people. I like to get to know who they are, and what their dreams and aspirations are. This approach will always be an important part of how I build my business. Strong networks are built on strong relationships.

However, today I deploy all the technology I possibly can to enhance my business. For recruiting, I use online lead generation, a follow-up auto-responder system, and "opportunity showcase" conference calls. I also rely heavily on conference calls for nationwide training--and of course, I use three-way calling constantly! Truthfully, I don't know what I would do without these marvelous tools of technology.

High tech has revolutionized our business in several ways, the most important of which is its sheer speed. When opportunity video presentations first became a tool, I sent them out to people all over the country. First, I would make my initial contact, qualify interest, then promise to send a video tape that would explain my business and product line. With those who seemed like especially hot prospects, I might FedEx the tape--a little more expensive, but it worked. Then I would w-a-i-t a couple of days for them to view the video and then follow-up with another call. Typically, they would not have seen the video yet--and would promise to watch it soon.

And this was the "fast" way to build!

Today, I use Flash presentations from my Web site. Instead of the old three-to-five-day lag time, my prospects can review the information online immediately, even while I'm still on the phone with them. Within 20 minutes, I know whether they're a prospect or a suspect. I can immediately plug them into my auto-responder system and keep a regular flow of important information coming to them as they evaluate the opportunity.

When someone joins my team, I go back to what has always worked for me: I forge a relationship based on identifying goals, commitment, respect, trust, hard work and leadership. For me, networking has always been about helping others find a way to live their passion every day.

Technology is a tool that can enhance the speed with which I can build, but networking is still about people. In my experience, people power is always more important than a new technology.

DAN CONLON, a former welder for 14 years, has been a network marketer for the past 14 years with the same company.