- Daily Zen
Networking is an essential part of any professional’s life. Be it an entrepreneur or a person working for someone, connecting with people in your profession is what expands the horizons both in terms of skills and prospects.
Networking happens over a long span of time, either organically or with wholesome efforts.
Considering networking is about connecting, some might be skeptical that it can happen virtually. But things have moved on from the traditional schmoozing and boozing and entertaining your connections or prospective useful connections to lunches and drinks.
One can now do the same online with a little planning and effort. Here are some ways to connect professionally with others through various online channels.
As with any new thing, start small. Consider all the friends and family members or school or college mates you know who can be of help. Connect with them through emails or chats. Find out what they are doing and where they are.
You are sure to find someone who is in a similar space or lateral industry and can introduce you to someone in your own field.
It can be a sales prospect, a supplier, an innovator in your field, or even a mentor.
Talking to people face to face always helps enhance the connection. Check-in with people through video calls or schedule a short meeting with people. Everyone is navigating Covid-19 the best they can, and keeping up a social routine is important. There might be some occasional awkwardness and tensions, but once the ice is broken, it can be an effective way to touch base.
Keep up a modest presence on social media. Post regularly, any interesting article, a funny video or a reaction to someone’s post.
It is a good way to keep connections alive and make it a tad more personal by sending private messages to someone f they are online and having a direct contact whenever possible. Get on Twitter, Instagram, etc. and comment and update. Be proactive in building relationships.
But there are certain dos and don’ts of posting. Do not post anything that stirs controversies, keep it simple and funny.
LinkedIn is a good way to be professionally connected. Posting on LinkedIn notifies all your connection that you have updated and tempts people to check in the updates. The platform throws up potential people of interest for you. It is a good way to find professional connections. Virtual contacts will remember you if you share information and your perspective on topics of mutual interest or comment on their own contributions or achievements.
After the Pandemic, the industry Meetups have gone totally online. Many webinars are held regularly. Enrol for some and learn and interact.
When it comes to virtual networking, the key is visibility and consistency. Look for opportunities to engage with your virtual contacts. Be proactive and post, tweet, mention tag people who you know may be interested. Answer professional questions posted on business forums. Respond to people’s updates.
Think long-term and strive to engage in some small way every few weeks. Virtual networking will never replace connecting in person, but it enables you to build and maintain relationships with key contacts around the world.