Networking has changed dramatically during the last year. While many aspects of meeting people in a professional context are completely new, others remain the same. Let's have a look at some tested advice for networking without the awkwardness.
Simply put, networking becomes more natural and fun if you see people as a stepping stone to get to where you want to go. Simple ways you can help others:
- Introduce a person to another who could be useful in their life and business
- Give a recommendation: recommend relevant information e.g book, a blog, an event, a product/service or method, or another person
- Give your time and attention: listen to people's worries and give your feedback and advice
Find out what people are focusing on right now or are challenged by and try to help them. Or ask them for advice about something you are challenged with. Most of the time people love to give advice.
Networking at online and live events
gave some excellent networking advice during the Freelance Business Month 2020
. He gave five pieces of advice for effective networking online: 1. Make sure your name is clear
It's easy to have your name on your Zoom window, but it is just as easy to forget about it and either have a wrong name or an automatically generated one, especially if you're moving between platforms a lot. Always make sure your name is correct. 2. Research the group and the intended outcomes
Most often you will have a good idea of what an event is for and what types of people will be attending. Familiarise yourself with the attendees, look at their LinkedIn profiles if they are provided in advance, and try to spot any commonalities or topics you can share with them. This will show you if it's worth networking with the group of attendees. 3. Find out how others are feeling
You can use polls, the chat window, or even direct messages to connect with people and ask how they're feeling. Showing kindness and interest in others in a winning strategy, both face to face, and in digital events. 4. Consider standing up
We have less room to impress, due to being restricted by the Zoom window we now occupy. To combat this, he suggests you use your hands and body language when communicating, as it has a better chance to leave an impression on others. 5. Share your details
It sounds obvious, but simply sharing some links with your LinkedIn/website/email in the chat will make it much easier for people to find you after the event and get in touch. A great tip is to also add a custom background with your logo and branding, which will make you stand out.
Above all, Adam Fillary recommends being calm and not to rush – there will be plenty of opportunities to network in the future.
See Adam's great presentation on the Art of Networking at the Freelance Business Month
You can also read more in the upcoming Freelance Business Book.