While COVID-19 has forced us to see each other less in 2020, we have all found new ways to connect. Networking is essential for business professionals, and you shouldn’t give up on it, even if all your regular networking events have been canceled. Here are some tips for how to continue networking throughout the course of the pandemic.
Utilize the power of social media
Social media is the perfect tool to help you stay connected with business professionals in your industry. It also allows you to build new business relationships. Keep your profiles up to date and post valuable content frequently. Send authentic messages to check in on colleagues and to make new connections. Schedule in this targeted time on social media every single day.
Use an ice-breaker
Sending messages to peers on social media can feel uncomfortable. Ice-breakers can help make this process feel more natural. Since the pandemic is something that we all have in common, this situation provides you an easy way to connect with others. Ask them how they’re faring through the crisis, as well as how their business is doing. Don’t over-complicate the process. Instead, just practice being kind and showing genuine interest in others.
Use video conferencing
Since the first shutdown in March, video conferencing has become a staple in our lives and businesses. Everyone, even those who previously avoided all technology, has become accustomed to Zoom-style meetings. In light of this, don’t be afraid to use video conferencing to catch up will colleagues or build relationships with peers.
Attend virtual networking events
Since large in-person events are currently on hold, try to attend a few virtual networking events. A simple Google search should connect with dozens of events. One of the bright sides of this new virtual environment is the opportunity to connect with people from all over the globe, rather than only the ones who are local to us.
Ask for help (and offer it to others)
One effective way to network with other professionals is to ask for help from people you respect and admire. People love to be useful and appreciate the respect you offer them by requesting their advice. Likewise, be willing to extend help to others. For example, if you discover an effective way to team-build virtually, be willing to share your ideas with your business allies.
The pandemic has changed the way we network, but it doesn’t have to stop us from connecting. This crisis has taught us that we can stay in touch with one another and even form new relationships, despite not meeting face-to-face. We have plenty of tools available to keep us connected throughout the pandemic, so it’s up to us to make the most of them.