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While the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way we work, it did not change our desire for human connection and interaction. We still want – and need – to network with each other and find ways to grow ourselves and our businesses. Individuals and companies are still trying to find new ways to network with colleagues, clients, and other businesses. A poll conducted by Global Alliance in Management Education found that 90% believed the pandemic had adversely impacted their ability to effectively network and find opportunities for their businesses.
The result is a shift towards virtual networking. Remote networking will continue for the foreseeable future. The question now is how individuals and businesses can network effectively within this new paradigm. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Reestablish Old Business Relationships
When was the last time you revisited your professional Rolodex? Perhaps it’s time to get back in touch with professional contacts you may have long forgotten. Remember, you don’t need a reason to connect with people you have not connected with in a while other than being curious as to how they are doing. It’s quite likely they will react appreciatively to your out-of-the-blue entreaty. Once you’ve made contact again, work on deepening those relationships, stay in touch, and build new opportunities.
2. Start Sooner Rather Than Later
When it comes to growing your business and expanding your network, procrastination is not your friend. Whether you are back to networking in person, remotely, or a hybrid fusion of the two, the sooner you get started the better it will be for your business. Will you be ready to effectively tell your story once you begin meeting new people and establishing new relationships? It will be important to figure out your selling points, who you want to connect with and where you want the relationship to go.
3. Being On Time is Late
If you’re attending virtual networking events, consider that being just on time is the equivalent of being late. In most cases, attendees dial in with an agenda ready to go and then immediately get to work. Once the event is done attendees immediately drop off. Dial-in a couple of minutes early to give yourself some time to network with and get to know others within the group. You’ll gain a lot from just a couple of minutes of networking with people.
Just as business has changed, so has networking. If you want to effectively expand your business or network, consider adopting new ways of interacting with people and establishing new relationships!