Top Tips to Maximise Virtual Networking
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
One of the many ways we've had to adapt in the past year is the way we network. Networking can be invaluable for establishing connections, gaining clients or finding a new career path. Whatever your intention for networking, you always want to put your best foot forward. You never know where that next opportunity will come from. Unfortunately, it doesn't come naturally to everyone.
If you already struggled with networking, the move online due to the Covid-19 pandemic has presented its own new challenges. However, it's not all gloomy. Virtual networking can make things easier than ever before. You can make immediate connections, save time and money and elevate your business from the comfort of your home. With reports suggesting virtual events doubled in 2020, it looks like virtual networking might stick around even after physical events get going.
Make the most of your virtual networking with our top tips!
Know Your Goal.
Come prepared by having a clear goal. What do you want to get out of networking? It'll be different for everyone so it's important to think about.
Once you have an idea of your goal, set yourself up for success. No matter your eventual goal, it's always worth giving attention to describing exactly what it is that you do. Of course, you know it in your head, but breaking it down into a few quick sentences can take the pressure off in the moment.
Always ask yourself: who are you there for? If you're hoping to find new clients through your network, give some time to consider how you would describe your target market as succinctly as possible. It might be tempting to keep this broad to widen your audience, but being particular can help. The more specific, the more likely people are to refer you to other connections that fit the bill.
Prep your Environment.
Virtual networking from home will be a breeze for some - less so for others. If you're not blessed with ideal working conditions, it can stressful trying to make a good first impression.
Don't forget to consider your background. Appearance has always been important for networking, but, virtually, that includes your surroundings too. If you're struggling, just stick to a plain wall, but a few neutral features are ideal. For other little niggles, like annoying background noise or low lighting, try our Zoom tips!
Battle Zoom Fatigue to Stay Engaged.
'Zoom fatigue' is a phrase that has boomed in popularity in the last year. Video calls require more attention than a regular meeting so drain your energy more quickly. It can difficult for all of us to stay engaged and present for long periods of time, especially as it's likely not your first call of the day!
There are lots of tips to help combat Zoom fatigue in daily life, but for networking try having an external camera slightly away from your screen. This means you can keep your camera at a comfortable position for eye contact and avoid the temptation to fixate on how you look. Also, try your best not to get distracted with other tasks and social media. It's easily done, but your lack of engagement shows.
Don't Wait Around to Follow Up!
Establish lasting connections by making sure you follow up after events. Virtual networking makes it easier than ever before to reach out on LinkedIn so drop a message to those you want to connect with. Try to do so within 24 hours of the event so you're fresh in their mind!
Remember networking is a two-way street. Even if you're looking for help with your business, offer your expertise too. You never know who you could help! An offer of a half an hour one-to-one could open up a wealth of opportunities for both of you.
Reconnect and Restore Past Connections.
Don't forget your old network! If you've lost touch with connections from the past, don't be afraid to get in contact. Previous contacts are a great opportunity for a more meaningful connection. Reinvigorating long-term connections can bring much more value than a one-off meeting.
It's worthwhile to reconnect even if you might not benefit now. Offering your help, or simply checking in on how they're progressing, are great ways to create a valuable network for the future.
It can be intimidating, but dive in and try our tips! The biggest step is taking the leap and putting in the effort. Try giving us a call on 020 3286 2866 - we love to make new connections!
How do you use virtual networking to make valuable connections?