Networking is a very important tool that can help you reach new heights in your career. It will open doors to professional development, mentorship and career growth. But ever since the pandemic hit, people have not been able to network like they used to.
Most industry and professional events have been cancelled or shifted to online mode. This causes a huge problem as these events provide the perfect opportunity to mingle and form connections with people from your industry.
When you are physically in a place with other people, attending workshops and having coffee or lunch together, connections are formed in a natural manner. This becomes difficult to do online as there is no space for people to just talk between the sessions. You can’t take someone you want to talk to towards a corner and have a chat with them.
However, this doesn’t mean networking is off the table. While people are more isolated than usual in the pandemic, there is a greater need to form more connections. It’s just that we have to change our approach.
Just because we can’t talk to someone in a physical space like we are used to doesn’t mean we can’t interact with them through a different medium. You can connect with people over social media, drop a text or write an email.
There are many ways to form still new connections in your industry that will help you in your professional development.
Here are some tips to help you network while you work remotely:
Use Chat Feature
Yes, you can’t get to know someone by running into them in the hall or sitting next to them during an event in a virtual event. But these virtual events have a chat feature which can be considered the conference hallway where networking can take place.
There is no need to zone out while a presentation is going on. You can utilize your time productively by trying to form connections in the chatbox. Simply write down your name and affiliation along with the link to your LinkedIn profile.
Send a message saying you are looking to form new professional connections. There will definitely be other people like you in attendance who will be interested in making new connections as well.
Remember to keep your messages short so that everyone can easily read them. Also, be sure that your LinkedIn is open during this time so that you can respond to connection requests immediately.
Join the audio platform Clubhouse. It will help you connect with other people who have the same interests as you. On Clubhouse, you can have discussions on topics that are relevant to you in real-time.
Join the room which is aligned to your interests, and raise your hand when you have something to say. When you are invited to speak on the Clubhouse ‘stage’ by a moderator, you can freely participate in the discussion.
Clubhouse gives you the unique opportunity to listen to industry experts and interact with them in real-time. If people like what you have to say, they can start following you.
You can network by sending a private message to speakers that you want to connect with. Clubhouse does not have a direct messaging feature of its own, so you will have to look them up on LinkedIn or some other social media platform.
Include the context of the Clubhouse discussion in your message so that they can recognize you. You will be able to make a lot of new connections this way.
Use Social Media
This one is self-explanatory but still very important. In the pandemic, with people stuck indoors, social media has become even more relevant for the most part. Since people couldn’t go outside, they had to rely on social media platforms to stay connected with their friends and loved ones.
Social Media is perfect for forming new professional connections as well. When you see someone from your industry that you would like to connect with, send a friend or follow a request with a short message.
Let them know that you are from the same industry and that you would love to chat sometime. People are always looking for new connections on social media, so you won’t have trouble making some new contacts.
Once you have made a connection on social media, take it beyond that. Don’t limit yourself to social media. Ask for their phone number or email. Once the pandemic scare gets over, meet up with them over coffee or lunch. It’s essential to cement these new connections by personal contact.
Networking is a very important tool that will help you at all stages in your career. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you have to pause your networking activities. How have you been networking while working remotely? Let us know in the comment section.
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