We’re nearly a year into work-from-home life. With vaccinations administered across the country and things slowly reopening, the truth is many of us will continue to work, go to school, and quarantine at home. Traditional networking events in packed arenas are postponed for the foreseeable future, and grabbing coffee with someone is unusually risky.
But making meaningful connections is still as important as ever. Whether you’re looking for a new job or simply seeking to expand your network, you can still do so virtually, from the safety of your couch. Now is the perfect time to dive into virtual networking and embrace its full potential.
In order to make the most of your virtual networking experience, here are a few tips we recommend:
Put your best (virtual) foot forward.
While one of the advantages to working from home is staying comfy, you still want to put your best foot forward in a networking setting. (We’re not saying you can’t wear pajama bottoms and slippers!) Consider your background – is it tidy and professional? Do you have good lighting to ensure you are clearly visible? Your username is your new nametag – make sure it is accurate and professional. Remember to keep yourself muted when you aren’t talking to avoid unwanted disruptions. And of course, ensure you have a strong network connection – nothing is worse than freezing in the middle of your elevator pitch!
Prepare Your Pitch
Every virtual event has an introduction moment. Just as you would in-person, be sure to prepare your pitch prior to the event. The benefit of the virtual world is that you can write it ahead of time and read it off when the time comes. By preparing ahead of time, you can perfect your messaging so that you say exactly what you want to and don’t try to think of something on the spot.
Actively participate in sessions.
Just as with any networking, you will get out of it what you put into it. To make the most of virtual networking, show you are interested! Leave your camera on and be present during the session. While sending emails on the side might be tempting, fellow attendees will notice if you are not actively present. Utilize the chat features to engage throughout the event. If you see someone you would like to connect with further, don’t be afraid to send them a direct message to schedule a separate meeting.
In a world where we’re more isolated than ever, social media is filling a void for in-person networking. Utilize LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with other professionals in your field. Like and comment on their content. Publish your own using relevant hashtags to maximize visibility and engagement. Don’t ignore connection requests or opportunities to network with people who aren’t currently recruiting or hiring.
Bring the positive attitude.
The past year has brought plenty of challenges, and many of us have felt anxious, annoyed or worried about the future. It might be easy to utilize time with others to share things you’re frustrated about. But if everyone has something negative to say, no one will leave the call feeling better.
Positivity is contagious. People will be drawn to it. If you’re able to, share good news, something you found inspiring, or ask a question with a positive spin. Everyone will leave the event feeling better.
Covid-19 has upended our “typical” ways of doing lots of things. But, thanks to technology, there are several steps you can take to continue to grow your network in this new normal.
Ready to dive in? Register today for our upcoming Virtual Business Exchange!