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We are living in a virtual world, and I am a virtual girl.
Networking is an essential activity for everyone personally and professionally. When talking with my professional peers, it is amazing the number of life-altering opportunities and business relationships that were gained by meeting or making a connection with someone.
In my 25-year career, I have found that having peers to turn to for advice, resources, support, and guidance has made all the difference in navigating growth, adversity, and new experiences.
Building and Strengthening Your Network
While making connections is critical to one’s success, it also is equally important to take time to nurture and strengthen your network. Although it’s nice to boast that you have 2,500 professional connections on LinkedIn, what really matters is how developed those connections are.
According to Social Media Today, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, LinkedIn has seen a 55% increase in engagement between connections, more content being posted, and messaging volume is also up.
Take time to reach out to your professional network and work to set up virtual meetings with those that you would like to learn more about or where there is an opportunity for partnership and collaboration. Today’s platforms are a great way to quickly create a more solid relationship beyond just a LinkedIn connection, and also to find commonality and opportunity to work together.
Have Passport — Won’t Travel
Travel once presented great opportunities to make connections at conferences and meetings. Now that nearly all live meetings and programs have been canceled or transitioned to a virtual delivery, don’t miss this new opportunity for networking.
As meeting and event planners pivoted to produce virtual programs, most have found platforms that allow for virtual networking with fellow attendees and sponsoring solution providers. I have been a part of many virtual programs during the past five months, and the breakout discussion rooms and chats have been amazing opportunities to meet new professionals from across the country and make connections that can further my business and objectives.
These new virtual conference platforms actually can be more effective in helping you find the people with whom you want to network, by offering alphabetically sorted attendee lists and the opportunity to request one-on-one meetings. How great is that? Rather than wandering around a 1,000-person conference glancing at name badges and hoping you find the person or company on your target list, you now can easily search and make connections with them.
I Remember When…
I do miss the opportunity to connect in person, and I am confident that someday soon we will be transported back to crowded meeting reception spaces filled with shoulder-to-shoulder networking. As we await the return of live networking, I encourage you to embrace the powerful networking tools that are available and take this opportunity to grow and strengthen your network.
Image Credit: Women of Color in Tech Chat / WOCinTechChat.com
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