The world of networking is virtual now. No more bumping into people in the elevator, joining local festivals, or shaking hundreds of hands at conventions. Networking with other professionals and potential customers is still as important as ever as we accept the new normal (and learn finally to unmute ourselves before speaking).
While virtual networking can be frustrating, there is a silver lining.
For entrepreneurs who are introverted or have certain disabilities, the increased opportunities to connect virtually have opened up a whole new world. But even if you prefer coffee over a webcam, there’s still a lot to adapt to.
Here’s three, proven ways you can adapt to virtual networking events.
1. Go Digital With Business Cards
We all hate that feeling – you connect with someone awesome and then CRAP you forgot to exchange contact information. That’s what business cards are for.
Printed business cards are certainly not a thing of the past, but now the opportunities to share your card without getting sprayed with Germ-X are slim to none. Plus, we can’t overlook the 6 million trees which are destroyed each year to make 100 million business cards worldwide.
Transform all your printed business cards into digital profiles that you can easily share with people you connect with virtually. There are free business tools out there to do so.
We recommend Contapp, a UK-based app which is changing the way the world manages and uses business cards in today’s digital world, whilst helping reduce paper waste globally.
Soon there will be more integrations including a streamlined CRM to help manage your contacts all in one place.
It’s sort of a no-brainer to make a digital business card:
- Better & easier management of contacts
- More convenient (no more digging at the bottom of your pocket)
- More hygienic than conventional printed business card
– All while doing your part to reduce paper waste globally.
2.Improve Your Social Media Presence, Especially On LinkedIn
If you don’t know where to start with networking, LinkedIn is probably one of the easiest ways to identify other professionals worth meeting. LinkedIn suggests people who are in your area, share your job title, or your interests. Then you can contact them directly.
Check out this blog on how to connect with strangers on LinkedIn (with scripts!) But before you start connecting, be sure and optimize your profile. There may be some corners that need dusting before you get back out there virtually.
Also, don’t be that person who posts yet never engages.
Social media is MADE to be social. Get involved with conversations and engage with people that fit your target audience. Connect with as many people that fall into that category and start building relationships.
P.S. Online forums are also a great place to explore too – like Reddit and Quora.
3.Embrace the Video Call Benefits
Chances are, most of your meetings and networking events are done via video calls. Which we all know Zoom Fatigue is a thing – where you feel immense feelings of exhaustion after video calls.
If you’re planning an event or meeting, here are some great tips to reduce Zoom fatigue.
But research shows there are actually benefits to doing video calls. Among them are:
- Less bias / power structures as everyone is on the same “level”
- Your often able to read facial expressions easier
- More accessibility for people with disabilities, travel restrictions, or for those who feel less comfortable entering a crowd of people
Embrace these benefits, while also remembering these essential tips for networking virtually: