About 6 months ago, I was having a conversation with my friend Jennifer McClure as a guest on her show “Impact Makers Podcast” when we were talking about speaking topics. One of the speaker topic strategies she mentioned was to listen to your audience to learn more about what they need. She mentioned that she once heard someone say when we are asked the same question three or more times, then we should turn it into a product, service, or in this case a blog topic! So, what is the question that keeps coming up during these times?
“How are you finding networking strategies have changed in a virtual environment?”
I was just sharing with someone about how challenging it would be to start building a network in these times when you are just starting your career. Many of us are working from home, or working in an office with minimal interaction. Many of us are connecting, but not building relationships. It’s difficult to connect when we are not meeting in person, and virtual events seem difficult when there are a lot of people on the call. There are very few in person events, and people are struggling during these difficult times with isolation, loneliness, being overwhelmed, burnout, and more. Many are struggling with getting through the day much less working on the future. Times have changed… for now and we need to adapt to stay connected too. It’s never easy but it’s more important today than ever. So how can we expand our network during these times?
Let me share a quick story to illustrate. Recently someone reached out on LinkedIn to ask for a 15-minute call. She advised that she had just relocated to the area and was looking to connect with people in the area to build a network as she pursues for her next career opportunity. I decided to take the call because she listed exactly what she needed and the time needed. She just needed a new connection and I remember what it was like for me when I moved to the area. Many people don’t take time for these types of calls, but the people that do will benefit and add a new connection just by helping others. When we finished the call, I connected her with two people in my network and advised her to ask them for referral connections too. This is how you build… but it takes action and courage to reach out and navigate through the process. By the 5th person you should be up to close to 50 new connections!
Most of the traditional networking strategies don’t change… You still have to show up, engage, follow up and serve for success. The key is being purposeful in this time of virtually networking. In the meantime, here are some ideas to help you build your network without attending in person events…
10 Ideas to Virtually Network
- Be active on LinkedIn: As a business professional, there aren’t many better places to network on social media than LinkedIn. Engage, create content, and follow up, give perspective and start building relationships one contact at a time.
- Join a Twitter Chat: Block time for social engagement. Find communities that you can connect with and share perspective or join a community chats on twitter.
- Podcasting: Start a podcast to connect with guests or be a guest on someone’s show. It’s a great way to connect with others on a whole different level.
- Reach out to Business Partners/Friends: Invest time in one-on-one calls. Block time to connect with business partners or others in your network and ask the questions “who do you know that I should know?”.
- Get involved in your local association: There are many local associations that have now gone virtual with a minimal cost. Participate in the sessions or events, then follow up with someone you connected with during the event.
- Invest in your community: Join a group in your community. This month I’m participating in the “mayor fitness challenge” and have met some great people in my community. We are having a great time posting pictures of the challenge events and getting to know some great people.
- Volunteer: Fred Rogers once said his mom would tell him to look for the helpers during a crisis. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer.
- Post a video: Be a speaker, share a video with content about a topic you are passionate about. You will find your tribe really quick!
- Connect with your work teams: The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. Network inside your organization and grow this network too!
- Family: It’s time to call mom or dad or other family members to connect. Ask them for ideas too…
Take 3 Networking Vitamins A Day
Try this “Networking Vitamins” exercise for 30 days and see if it helps you stay on track: List 5-7 ways you want to try to network across the top of your paper, then list the date for next 30 days down the left side of the paper. In each if the 5-7 categories, write down the name of topics (or add something I missed) listed. Then try to implement at least “3 daily networking vitamins” of these strategies each day and at the end of the month add up each column to see where you spent the most time. This is a great way to build momentum as you build your network!
Sarah Blakely once said the more you experience the more you can help others. But it starts with you taking action one connection at a time. Networking is hard, it takes effort, it takes consistency, and most importantly, it takes a commitment to serving others in your zone every day. The more you invest, the more receive…
Take your daily networking vitamins and watch your network grow – and you will grow too!
Quote of the week: “Your Network is Your Net Worth.” Darren Hardy
Call to Action: Challenge yourself to 3 daily vitamins a day and watch your network grow. What topics will you include at the top of your list? How are you continuing to network during covid-19? I would enjoy hearing from you. Also, sign up for my blog and you will received a copy of my “10 Do’s and Don’ts to Networking”…
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Take your networking vitamins during COVID ” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out www.BruceWaller.com to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon. Be sure to subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel for weekly messages to encourage you and others in the workplace! Looking for a Podcast? Check out “Life in the Leadership Lane” on APPLE PODCAST as I talk to leaders making a difference in the workplace!This has been A Relocation Minute on “Take your network