Posted by tungstenmg Last updated 5th April 2021 reading time
As we find ourselves celebrating a year in lockdown the way we work has been changed forever. There are many employers who will not take all their employees back to the office, which means an increase amount of working from home and a changing urban landscape as offices are put up for rent or sale.
But what has changed and maybe seen as a positive is virtual networking. Before we dig into the benefits let’s look at what networking is? According to Reed.co.uk, ‘networking is the process of speaking to professional contacts and sharing information with them’. You can network anytime of day or night and it does not have to be a set networking event, as you could overhear someone talking about your industry at a friend’s dinner, at your son’s football match or you hear a passing comment from a stranger. Networking is all about telling everyone what you do and how you can help them; remember your network is your net worth.
Most jobs are found through personal connections – 70% of them, to be exact. LinkedIn.
Make the most of your time at the meeting
Before you attend any meeting, in person or online, you must carry out a few steps to make sure you make the most of your time at the meeting. We suggest
ask yourself why are you attending? You need to have a clear idea of what you wish to achieve and what your goal is. With this clear in your mind you can ensure that you target the most relevant people, and give them your message.
do your research. It would be a great help if you can see the attendee list before you attend. If you select some attendees to speak with you can research their business and pick out a few milestones that you can drop into conversation to show you have done your research. You may also find you have some common ground which will help you to build rapport.
you arrive slightly early, be prepared and know the event format, so you can be in control as soon as you arrive and make the most of your time.
when you are in the meeting speak to as many new people as you can, but also remember to not spend to much time with one person. Remember to not judge a book by its cover as you never know who could hold the key to open your next opportunity door. Make sure you show interest in others and remember some key points so you can mention these in your follow up calls or meetings.
get a card! This may seem old fashion but you can ensure you take all your new contact details away with you so that you can work on the follow up process post-event. The follow up is a key element to networking that many forget or are to lazy to carry out so make sure you are different.
seize the opportunity to introduce yourself to the group, even if public speaking is not your preferred hobby!
Half of the worlds population are interacting on social media. Statista
What are the advantages of virtual networking?
There is limited travelling time as you can login to a meeting from your home
You can attend a larger pool of events that you would could not access before due to the travel distance, starting/finishing times which are now removed
Network with others you would not have met before
Open up your horizon as you can meet with people all over the UK and the globe!
95% of people agree that better business relationships are built through face-to-face meetings. Tech Jury
A larger number of people can dilute your chance to talk to all attendees and make a real connections
Can you really make a connection over the internet?
You could be tempted to attend to many events and spread yourself to thin and forget to stay connected to those you have already met