Networking is a very important tool when growing a business or a personal project. In the era before coronavirus networking was easy and accessible. In large cities, at least, there are always tens of events each week, either with a business topic or simply networking events.
In fact, an important thing I learned about organizing events was the importance of the coffee breaks, and that most people measure the success of an event by the quality of the interactions they had during lunch for example. Keynotes are important as well, of course, but nowadays we live in an ocean of information and our need is to have some brains to share it with.
Now, we are under lockdown, all events and conferences were canceled. So, how do we continue to network and make the most of the present? Is this an opportunity or a setback?
Tip no. 1
A lot of events moved online, so the first thing to do is to search for the events you were interested in and join them online. In most of them you will have the opportunity to interact with other participants through comments, at least, and this could be a private conversation starter.
You now also have a great opportunity to join even those events which were out of reach – due to travel budget or travel time availability etc. Right now they are online and available everywhere. Moreover, in order to support people through this crisis many of them are now free.
Some examples of virtual conferences:
- CouchCon by Wistia
- Automated by Drip
- Inside Sales Summit by Close.io
- Content promotion summit
- Conversational Marketing Summit by Drift
Tip no. 2
It’s time to start answering those connect requests pending in Linkedin and start conversations there as well. It’s finally time for that note you never got to publish, for the shared articles you did not read. Engage, publish, interact, connect.
The crisis I believe made us more open and less inclined to be susceptible of people, more curious to meet new persons, especially since we are now locked with a limited number of faces and brains. It’s nice to pick on a new brain from time to time.
Even a professional platform like linkedin is now filled with humanity, cause in the end our organizations are made of people, flesh, blood, spirit.
Tip no. 3
Get out of your comfort zone and connect with people whom you did not have the guts to approach. The crisis lights up our contribution bulbs and we are all more open to offer a helping hand. It is now a time to find a good mentor or industry specific advice etc.
Tip no. 4
Start browsing meetup.com and find events and groups with topics you are interested in. Fun fact – now you can browse any location not online your offline location. I just joined a free webinar that was taking place in London this month and no, I did not have tickets to fly there.
Tip no. 5
Don’t be afraid to use social media. Social media gets a bad rap for being a time consuming black hole of distraction, negativity, and instant gratification. The key is to understand why and how you should use social media before jumping in and which are the platforms that suit your needs – where your peers are, where your customers are, etc.
Tip no. 6
Offer – help, content, connecting, contribute in any way to the community you live in, the community you wish to join.
Tip no. 7
Email introductions – ask for support from a mutual friend and get introduced via email to the contact you wish to engage.
Tip no. 8
Saving the best for last – take the first step.
In the end, networking online means that you can now have the onion in your sandwich, you don’t need to fear the awkward moments of shaking hands / hugging / nodding or searching for the table near the power outlet. It’s a more direct and intentional approach, no longer waiting to talk to the guy that is always surrounded by a crowd or avoiding / searching for an eye contact, so I think it’s a time to be open and authentic in our intentions.
How do you network these days?