Nurturing Relationships in a COVID-19 World
Networking During COVID-19
Networking has, and will continue to be, an integral part of life; be it professional or personal. From formal business meetings to the more lighthearted meet-and-greet events, networking has always been the best way to make connections. The world of networking has changed with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Under unemployment, millions of Americans are now relying on networking as a tool for finding another job. Those employed are quickly realizing that traditional networking has vanished and are looking for new ways to stay connected with their colleagues or clients.
It’s clear that the question has become “what now?” How do we navigate networking amidst a global pandemic?
In order to answer that question, we must remember, “Networking is about Nurturing Relationships.” Let’s look at three ways to continue networking while living (and working) in a COVID-19 world.
Stay “Face-to-Face” with Virtual Meetings
It’s true that email and phone calls are helpful now. They allow you to keep in touch, and because this form of communication has been used for years, almost everyone knows how to use it flawlessly. But networking over the phone or by email is missing a key element, authenticity.
In comes, video conferencing Networking experts say that because you can actually see the person on the other side, there is a more authentic connection. Having that visual connection makes it easier to establish a rapport, especially when it is with someone new. You are most authentic when seeing someone face-to-face, an element email, and phone both lack. These almost archaic forms of communication can also present issues with miscommunication. Without hearing someone’s voice or seeing their facial expressions, it can be tough to distinguish a tone or inflection.
There are various platforms that can help will Video Conferencing. From Zoom to FaceTime, you’re bound to find a software that is right for your personal or professional communication needs.
Attend and Host Online Events
While it may seem strange to RSVP or even consider creating an event, it’s an optimal way to connect with others. Aside from the benefits of avoiding traffic, attendees can join from anywhere It almost instantly expands who can attend your event. With your new global network, you can consider new speakers or partnerships.
Networking and building relationships through online events become easier. Fewer restrictions on time and location make it easier for attendees to fit your event within their schedule – which is probably empty anyway.
You can make your online event happen using your Video Conferencing software, or check out Facebook’s new Messenger Rooms.
Always Check In
Building relationships is about showing up and being there. Think of the little things like sending a small note to your contacts and letting them know you’re thinking of them. The way you treat your network in quarantine will affect the relationship you have when things return to normal. Karen Wickre, author of Taking the Work Out of Networking: Your Guide to Making Connections That Count, says that taking the time to contact connections makes a massive difference, “ask how they’re faring, and let them know you’d like to help if you can… it’s not a sales call, it’s a goodwill call. They will remember it later.”
To nurture relationships is to show authenticity and genuinely connect with people. Networking has certainly changed, but it has not vanished. Not as long as you put the effort in to stay connected.