Do you miss networking? Even though it is not natural for me, it is good for me and my business. So I do it.
Networking gets you noticed and drives all-important word-of-mouth recommendations. It is an excellent opportunity to help others and learn by finding qualified and willing mentors as well as hearing about changes in markets that assist with developing new opportunities and ideas. Networking also gives you a chance to practice and refine your story telling as you meet new people. Seeing those you’ve already met deepen relationships and you can make great friends.
Although we can’t meet face to face, here are some things I’ve done in this time of quarantine and pandemics to continue networking.
Attend online meetings and sessions. Part of the reason I network is to meet people for the first time. Attending online meetings, training sessions, and webinars are good ways to do this. I select topics of use to my prospects to better understand the things with which they are dealing. Attendance is virtual, so I can write down names and companies, and the answers to the “what do you expect to get out of this…” question without looking creepy. Some facilitators will even provide you a list of the attendees if you ask.
Join (or start) a roundtable. Roundtables form around many different topics (e.g., industry, job role, geography, skills, etc.). Roundtables have a consistent membership, so you get to speak with the same people repeatedly, gaining depth in the relationships. I find roundtable membership to be an excellent place to get word-of-mouth referrals.
Meet 3 to 5 new people a week. When attending a virtual session and hearing someone who asked a great question or made a strong point, I want to know more. So I’ll send them an email to that notes the topic and see if they have a few minutes to talk about it. It is an introduction to a conversation. A conversation is something that makes that person memorable to me, and myself significant to them. One goes from the “accounting guy” to the “CPA who specializes in foreign taxes,” or from the “marketing person” to the “expert who can increase my online traffic.” The better they know your primary skill, the better the references you can expect. Oh, and by the way, don’t be surprised if you get a few people reaching out to you also.
Catch up with acquaintances and friends. Reaching out to someone every day (I try to email three people) to ask them how things are going. The one on one phone or Zoom conversations help others to feel remembered and not as confined. So simple to do. So hard to remember.
If you want to speak more about ways to network, set up a day and time for a Zoom session with me. I love meeting new people.
Or if you are looking for a free webinar as I’ve mentioned, try one of mine. Here is a list of free Closing Strong leadership webinars taking place in the upcoming weeks.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
— Steve Jobs