Reaching out to your network through emails, texts or calls has never been more important than now. Pre-pandemic, networking events were held at specific venues, but now these have shifted to online mediums. COVID19 has changed the way people connect, but that doesn’t mean that networking or nurturing of relationships should stop.
Here are few tips to help you network and continue building relationships amidst social distancing:
1. Strategic Online Networking: With in-person meetings and professional events off the calendar for a little while now, make the most use of online networking platforms such as LinkedIn, or even registering for webinars and podcasts that interest you. Spend time connecting with professionals that share similar interests and or those who work within the same industry.
2. Re-engage Existing Contacts: Building a genuine network involves checking in on your existing network, be it your ex-colleague or previous employer. Think about the various touchpoints and how you can proactively reach out to them. Connect with your strongest allies and let them know what you’re looking for: it could be a new job, investment ideas or career advice.
3. Personalize Your Communication: This is the right time for you to lead and engage your connections with personalized communication. Engage in relevant and meaningful conversations that you would be happy to receive. It could be as simple as wishing your ex-colleague ‘Happy Birthday’ or congratulating someone on completing a one-year work anniversary. These gestures will help you in building stronger connections.
4. Practice Empathy: Everyone is dealing with COVID19 related anxiety and isolation in some way or another. When approaching someone that has been affected by this crisis, it is important to extend empathy and reaffirm that things will get better.
5. Leverage LinkedIn: LinkedIn recently introduced a quick and easy way to solicit feedback from your network via ‘LinkedIn polls’. This is a great feature to spark new conversations, receive relevant input and have informed discussions with your connections. Use this downtime to work on your LinkedIn profile, update your work history, request recommendations from previous employers/mentors and start sharing authentic content with your connections and those who are not within your network.