As if networking was not already challenging enough, the circumstances of the world have not just made it even harder, they have changed the game altogether. The usual avenues, such as distributing stacks of business cards, making small talk in an elevator, or meeting at a coffee shop, have disappeared and made way for our new virtual lifestyles. Though many Americans remain isolated inside, networking is as critical as ever for their careers. Continue reading to learn how to network effectively from the comfort of your own home.
Utilize Your Technology
Surprisingly, people can use technology to their advantage to deliver more authentic connections remotely. Networking is not simply all about finding business, it is also about fostering connections with a wide array of professionals who are able to provide you with help and resources, and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by offering people a glimpse into your home life. While at home in a virtual meeting, you are opening a window into your personal life that people would not otherwise get meeting you at a coffee shop, such as your pet appearing on-screen. This degree of authenticity accelerates the trust-building process, which will cause your relationships to blossom even quicker.
Consider What You Offer
Networking allows us to establish symbiotic relationships with others. That is, both parties offer a service to the other that makes the relationship mutually beneficial. Keep in mind that networking is not about you, it is about what you provide as networks are not just one-way streets. Start by creating a list of all the help and resources that you can offer others and look for opportunities to help those within your network. Experts say that even small gestures can jump-start your networking if done sincerely.
Adapt Your Greetings
The world has changed in so many ways, forcing us to not just adapt our ways of living but also our ways of reaching out and interacting. A normal interaction used to begin with sentiments like “hope all is well” or “how are you?” However, the pandemic is an unprecedented event that has impacted a large percentage of Americans in ways other than getting sick. More than 40% of Americans say their emotional well-being has gotten worse according to a poll during the first week of April. What a person is going through is not always transparent, especially not online, which is why you should drop the basic greetings and add a more personal touch by asking how someone is handling the pandemic.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media platforms give everybody the opportunity to have a voice in their communities and networks. Do not take these outlets for granted and instead, use them to demonstrate your proficiency and show off what it is that you offer. Share helpful articles and videos to keep your network up to date on valuable information or, better yet, publish your own to better position yourself as a resource. Furthermore, share content relating to the pandemic to demonstrate compassion and express that you are interested in how it is affecting your industry. These modern platforms, when combined with your expertise, empower you with valuable networking opportunities.