President of The Network Marie Louise Ashworth, pictured, says that smaller group meets are a less intimidating environment
Photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne
Social distancing doesn’t mean the end of networking. Marie Louise Ashworth of women’s professional development organisation The Network shares these virtual networking tips.
Test topics at online events
Check out events on Eventbrite, Meetup and other sites. If pre-lockdown you would have hesitated in physically joining an event, this is the ideal opportunity to test a variety of associations and topic groups. The advantage of a virtual event is that if you feel uncomfortable or the event isn’t to your taste, you can politely “leave the room”.
Learn from experts
Webinars/forums are now the social-distancing-friendly answer to business conferences. Try focusing on smaller events which are less intimidating environments and easier to have one-on-one face time and more quality of contact. Connect with the speakers and other participants. The speaker may be facilitating other events you can join. “These are difficult times. Thankfully, virtual networking enables us to maintain our connections and make new ones”, says Ashworth.
Reconnect with former colleagues. Take time to update yourself on staff movements and industry news.
Get busy on Linkedin
Update your Linkedin profile and other online portals with your photo, fine-tune your experiences and ensure you professionally represent yourself online. Request recommendations and get yourself noticed.
Use events to start a conversation
Use virtual events to expand your network or open doors to a career move. A usual rule of networking is to leave an event with five new contacts. Smaller group meets are a less intimidating environment. Send a follow-up the next day thanking them for the conversation about X, Y and Z, and ask if they are attending any similar events that they think you would be interested in.
This article was originally published in the Delano 2020-2021 Expat Guide