For a lot of people it has been over a year without face-to-face events, conferences and socials…
Working remotely can make you feel disconnected from others, but there are many ways that you can network effectively through a virtual environment.
So how can you make the most of networking virtually?
Define your networking goal
To begin with, you need to ask yourself why you want to network in the first place. What’s your reason for networking and reaching out to people? Is it because you are looking for a new opportunity, because you want to connect with other people in your sector or even just build and maintain relationships with people you already know? It’s best to establish this before you dive in headfirst without a goal in mind.
Be present on social media
Social media takes up a huge part in today’s networking environment; it allows people to connect with each other and open up conversations at the click of a button. But, how can you ensure you are making the most out of these platforms?
If your goal is to connect with people in your field, then be open and post regular content about things within your subject area, for example, industry-related news articles, your opinions and asking people for their thoughts too. This will allow you to spark spontaneous conversations about content and attract others to engage with you.
If you are looking to connect with people on social media, be direct and explain your reason for doing so as this will help to initiate conversations and build relationships from the get-go. Plus, it may be worthwhile to have a browse and research what groups you could join on social media too as you will be able to find people who have similar interests or work in the same industry as you.
Optimise virtual events
The world of events has dramatically changed in the past year; thankfully some have still been able to take place, albeit virtually. Although you may find yourself attending events without even leaving your house, they still provide plenty of networking opportunities, for example small breakout areas to discuss and engage with other attendees.
Make sure you use these and treat them like you would if you were at an in-person event; dress smart, turn your camera on and be an active participant.
You have to start somewhere, right? Networking doesn’t always mean building new relationships, but also maintaining your existing ones too, which can include your colleagues, family and friends. Even replacing your ‘water cooler chat’ to online messaging is a way of doing this through a virtual environment.
If you have any other networking tips, we would love to know!