Remote Networking: how to build and maintain relationships during lock-down
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Here's a blog I never imagined I'd have to write!
But here we are, a week into what can only be described as the most bizarre situation we'll most likely ever find ourselves in. We're all trying to adapt; to stay safe first and foremost, but to also ensure that our businesses survive too.
For a lot of us our work has frozen. The diaries full of deadlines and meetings, and of course networking events, are now rendered completely useless. For the foreseeable future we're on pause, and that means our pipeline of work is on pause too.
Being confined to our homes is most definitely challenging, we're pivoting our businesses and changing the way we live work and play. Taking a step back from the outside world means traditional face-to-face networking is off the cards completely, but being on lock-down doesn't mean you have to stop networking all together...
Here are my 5 top tips for remote networking to help you build and maintain professional relationships.
1. Get Digital
If you're not already, make sure you get involved with all that fantastic online networking opportunities that are available to you.
Many companies are hosting:
Webinars on key topics
Q&A's with business leaders
Online networking events & 1-2-1's
Regional Twitter hours where you can engage by using a specific #
Live Facebook interviews and conferences
From what I've seen they're pretty much all free, and you can choose to engage as much or as little as you like.
2. Screw Geography
One of the best things about networking remotely is that you're not restricted by travel - you can network with people from across the world from the comfort of your sofa. So when it comes to selecting which of the above digital networking events you're going to get involved with, have a think about where your target market is.
You could even use the open networking world to target a new geographic area: Is there a city you'd like to break into but haven't had the time to do it yet? Take a look at what the local Chamber or FSB is running online for example, or any regional Twitter hours happening in your target area. Also think about who you want to meet, and what type of digital event they might be interest in. Plus, if there's a specific person you'd like to network with, invite them along to a digital event you're attending!
Networking doesn't always have to be about meeting new people, it can be even more valuable to reconnect with people you've already met. Use this time to re-engage with people you've not spoken to in a while, have a catch-up over a coffee-call, or drop them a little video message. Establishing strong relationships, and therefor a strong network, takes time; and that's something we've all got a lot of at the moment. So spend some on reconnecting with your network, let them know what you're up to and who you're looking to meet.
4. Make Introductions
Introducing people across your network is one of the most powerful things you can do, and it's something I refer to as 'Connection Marketing'. Showing yourself to be a well connected, helpful person who adds value to others; that's someone everyone wants to know. You can't buy that kind of marketing! By helping others you'll be positively promoting yourself, your business, and it will come back to you ten fold in the long run. Taking ten minutes out of your day to do some e-introductions is the best way to support and strengthen your network any time, lock-down or no lock-down.
5. Take Time to Target
Being targeted shouldn't just apply to your digital networking activities, it should also be applied to where you're networking out there in the 3D world (once we're allowed to of course). What events are you going to be attending when this is all over? Trust me, there's going to be a lot to choose from, so start thinking about which will be the best for you. Strategy is key to ensure return on investment from networking, just like any other marketing or business development activities. Investing your time and money into networking, you should be ensuring you're attending the most appropriate events for you, your business and your overall goals & objectives. Otherwise you're just eating a lot of breakfast sarnies and drinking free coffee!
(*Warning, shameless sales plug coming)
If you'd like to have a chat about developing your professional networking strategy, give me a shout! That's what I'm here for! (I warned you.) You can connect on LinkedIn, engage on Twitter, or drop me a line at: email@example.com
To learn more about networking take a look at our online-learning courses now available on Udemy HERE!