Digital Networking: How to Network Effectively During The LockDown?
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If you read the article about “The Three Bucket Method”, you are familiar with this approach and maybe even created the list of people to contact. If you haven’t, I encourage you to take a quick skim at the article and follow the suggestions. Once done, come back and I’ll show you what to do next.
I am sure that the list of people who know you well is much slimmer than the one full of folks whom you met several times in your life. This is normal! In your “bucket exercise”, shoot for at least 30 people in both. This is nothing, considering how many Facebook friends you have. Once done, you need to get in touch.
Ideally, you want to meet with all the people on your list in person. COVID situation does not support effective networking, so you got to get creative. There are a lot of reasons why you can’t meet in person, but that is not mission-critical. A phone call, FaceTime, Video conferencing or email at the very least.
The important thing here is how you approach a meeting and what you say. What you say matters, but what you don’t – matters even more.
Too much talking can and will hurt you.
Talk less, listen more.
This is not a new thing, however, nowadays it’s as relevant as never before. What is digital networking? To better understand it, we need to refresh the memory on what business networking is. I will answer this question in two parts: “pre-pandemic networking” and “post-pandemic networking”.
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want“ZIG ZIGLAR
Also, despite the fact that things had changed dramatically over the past several months the concept of networking remained the same – help other people. Networking, particularly business networking is the process where you make an effort to establish a synergetic relationship with other people. It is called “networking” because you build a network of people around yourself. You meet new people and try to figure out how to help one another. The key part of networking is meeting people. Due to an extraordinary time caused by the pandemic, we got to redefine the concept of networking.
Digital networking is the process where you make an effort to establish a synergetic relationship with other people online.
Just one word, but changes everything. Let’s examine how much of different digital networking is from face-to-face networking.
The “Old” – Pre-COVID Networking
The best way to network with other local business owners and entrepreneurs was through face-to-face meetings and local business groups. People would regularly attend networking group meetings. However, networking did not happen only at a “networking event”. There are countless other places to meet people with whom you could build mutually beneficial relationships. Here are the 12 best typical networking places:
- Any Business event
- A networking club or business organization
- Someplace where like-minded people belong
- Any type of class you take to learn more and improve yourself
- A civic organization
- A cultural event
- Charity or volunteering event
- Trade shows
- Private clubs
- Health clubs
- Sports events
- Happy hours
Well, those places were good before the pandemic. As I said, typically networking was done face-to-face. Now things different, and we have to adapt. Let’s move to the “digital” part of the networking.
The “New” – COVID-19 Networking
Going through the list above, none of the typical networking places or events are relevant anymore. At least for now, we need to find better places to connect with others. You already know the answer – online. Everyone needs to be networking online. No matter where you are in your current career stage, networking can and will improve your personal or professional life. Digital networking doesn’t require a lot of tools and resources. A smartphone, email address, a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile as for the beginning… If you wish to go further, there are 10 alternatives to face-to-face networking, which I guarantee that you haven’t heard of at least a half of them:
- 100AM networking
- Networking for Professionals
The bottom line is that you need to network. Because of situation, you need to network online. You need to know where to find people online and how to approach them. In the next post I will lay out the scripts and strategies for effective networking over the internet. Stay tuned.