As we all deal with the advent of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have been made to transpose our social interactions to online platforms to maintain our bonds and forge new relationships. With this, networking is understood as becoming more difficult as we perceive our homes and computer screens as barriers to exchanging information with like-minded individuals. By the time this article concludes, however, I would have successfully demonstrated that such a perception of networking in these trying times is merely untrue. Growing your networking during a global pandemic can be achieved using these ten steps below.
1. Familiarize yourself with the technology.
Since it is that face to face interaction is on pause during this period, utilize the online resources at hand. Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, Hangouts, etc., provide unique opportunities to socialize from within the borders of your home and allow for the continuation of networking. It may seem daunting at first, but with practice, perfection is achieved. Eventually, looking at a camera while speaking will become second nature.
2. Rekindle with your current network
Reach out to your previous contacts. Even if it is an email to check-in or hosting a 15-minute virtual wine tasting or another social event you find mutually enjoyable, re-establish the old bonds you shared before. This move ensures that the people in your network understand that you care about their individual needs and not just the professional gains they can provide for you.
3. Brandish your Branding
We are increasingly using social media and online platforms to market ourselves, which means that perception is critical. We cannot always speak for ourselves in an introduction; therefore, your online reputation can be a suitable replacement. Update your online profile with pertinent information that reflects who you are and what you represent to attract others to you.
4. Be Ye Patient
As we live in technological era, a huge mistake we make is to expect results almost instantaneously. We have strong inclinations to quit when things are not done quickly and effectively. During this pandemic, it is better to wait patiently have and the interactions we forge mature and bear fruit on their own time. Online social platforms can develop life-altering opportunities and networks if we let them, after putting in the necessary work. Potential clients and future employment opportunities are everywhere; effectively put yourself out there and let them make their way to you.
5. Take a Targeted Approach
Since everyone has moved online to facilitate Covid-19 guidelines, there is access to more people. This greater access is a bit tricky to navigate, however. The best option is to research those who you try to form connections with to guarantee that their expertise and your interests align. Be specific in correspondences about why you are interested in adding them to your network, and you can even reference some of their accomplishments. Diversity is good but remember that the main idea behind networking is to join like-minded individuals.
6. Share your skills.
As an added feature of the pandemic, there has been a sudden influx of virtual learning opportunities. You can take advantage of this move by sharing your skills on online platforms. Those well versed in technology can teach others how to navigate the popular
social and meeting sites. Creative individuals can market their wares and provide how-to videos to show others how they profit from their skills. It does not matter what these skills are; the idea is to demonstrate their value to others, so it is possible to from authentic connections.
7. Virtually Join Professional Groups
Sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have an added feature that allows you to join groups that cater to your specific tastes. Aligning yourself with such professional groups in your field can provide you with access to various virtual panels. The shared attendance can be used as a conversation starter with a panellist or attendee, thus allowing you the wherewithal to get more knowledge about the practical aspect of your industry and share advice and information, thus expanding your network.
8. Understand the Reciprocity
In establishing your network, especially online and in this Covid-19 era, it is best to remember tact. We understand that financial hardships are plaguing everybody. The need to quickly source jobs is paramount but request an appointment or referral in the beginning stages of networking can prove detrimental. It is essential to understand that the premise of networking is based on an exchange of resources, above all else. It is best to offer help rather than request it, even though your situation may be direr than those around you.
9. Create a Networking Goal and Map
Despite this period seeing the rise of technological reliance, put pen to paper, and create a sound plan that outlines the steps you will take to broaden your network reach. Please include the people you wish to meet or nurture to accomplish your intention and ensure that they are attainable. This helps to keep you grounded in your plans and keep track of the bonds you make, which in turn allows you to fulfil step two. A failproof plan does wonders.
10. Master LinkedIn
The premier social networking app has always been LinkedIn, even prior to the damaging aspects of Covid-19. Now, many have flocked to the app in hopes of finding job placement and networks. If it is that you were not a user before, the time is now to curate and set up your profile on the site. Create linkages with people in and outside of your industry, comment, and initiate dialogue in groups, to fully harness the capabilities that the site has to offer.
Even though Covid-19 has brought about a significant shift the way we navigate employment and networking opportunities, it is possible to capitalize on the positives that online networking supports. Remember, in every connection you make, characterize it with kindness and respect as we are all going through trying times. A little kindness has great impact, especially for those in isolation or quarantine.