The end appears to be in sight. After nearly two years of quarantines, mandated social distancing, and constant Zoom calls, loosened Covid restrictions and a drive to return to the office have restored a peculiar sort of normalcy. But the definition of “normal” has been fundamentally altered.
Most people have found a level of comfort with and even preference for a hybrid workplace. As a result, the skills that many of us once had when it comes to personally connecting with others, especially as it relates to networking, are greatly diminished.
Why networking is still important
Networking is a professional skill established and honed over time. For most professions, it is vital to network with other professionals to build connections, authority, and trust while also keeping up with industry trends. Networking can be key to securing a promotion, as well as building long-term partnerships with current or potential clients. As businesses continue to open, it’s time we all brush up on our networking skills.
How to network in a hybrid world:
Have A Plan
Like anything else, start with a plan. Ask yourself what your goals are, who you want to meet, how you’ll get there, and who will be able to assist you to achieve these goals. By creating an action plan, you can hold yourself accountable. The beautiful thing about networking in a hybrid world is that it allows you to be more purposeful in your engagements, thus maximizing your time and focus. Hybrid networking provides you the opportunity to engage and network with those most aligned with your career goals.
Find events that you’re interested in, register, and show up! Get out there and make your presence known—even if it’s from behind a screen. Consider experimenting with different professional platforms that offer experiences related to your desired industry and provide avenues for further networking. Among the possibilities are online webinars, live stream presentations, and interactive social platforms like Clubhouse.
Build an Online Presence
Creating a visible, professional social media profile can help you connect with people in person and online. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to share material based on your ideas and industry insights, boosting your visibility, and connecting with your audience. Providing value to others, even through social media, will undoubtedly expand your network. Use these social media channels to position yourself and learn from other users. LinkedIn, the largest digital B2B networking site, hosts a variety of professional groups that allow users to interact with their new connections and engage in online events.
Following up with people you met at an event establishes you’re willing to continue the dialogue. After you’ve made yourself available, start thinking about what value you bring to your interactions. When you provide value, individuals chose to reciprocate.
Transparency and open communication go a long way. By being yourself, you keep your primary principles at the forefront—allowing for full transparency and open communication about your capabilities. If you have questions, ask them! Don’t overextend your knowledge or expertise—we aren’t supposed to know everything.
Face-to-face encounters are no longer the only way to network professionally. Meaningful connections can be made simply by thinking about how you can do things differently. Modern business operates at breakneck speed, with significant upheavals in world events such as pandemics altering the pace. Rather than getting stuck in the past, learn to be inspired by the new challenges of the digital world.
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