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How to network in a remote working world.

March 24, 2022 3 min read

How to network in a remote working world.

The thing about networking is; if you feel uncomfortable doing it, you’re doing it wrong.

Networking is about mingling with the intention to share information, offer gifts of time, a listening ear, some advice, or provide a connection to someone else that may be able to assist.

"Networking should be better known as the secret elixir to success"

Just like “it takes a village to raise a child”, it takes a network (or, if you’re uncomfortable with that term, a “community”) of stakeholders, contacts and sponsors to excel in business and to propel your career. Sadly, the result of the pandemic and our rapid shift to remote and hybrid working has, in many cases, instead resulted in disconnection.

“Hybrid Working” often results in people only interacting with their direct team or those with whom they are directly collaborating. There are far fewer opportunities to cultivate an existing network, let alone foster cross-team, wider business (or even industry relationships). Specific and dedicated time must now be set aside for these types of activities, which would otherwise have (often) occurred more spontaneously.

Socialising is now intentional, so there is less of it.

We must adapt.

Why is "networking" still so important?

It takes a community of contacts, stakeholders and advisors to raise your career. It is imperative to foster relationships both within and outside of your industry that will stand the test of time.

Seek out people you can tap into for advice as you go through career changes and challenges. People that will guide you (and you them), people you'll speak of when opportunities arise and they’re not in the room to grab them.

Critically, networking builds influence and trust. It facilitates your ability to source strategic partnerships. Done correctly, it opens doors to opportunities and ideas that you might otherwise have never thought possible or come across.

How do you recapture incidental moments of connection remotely?

We have brainstormed some ideas on fostering new networks and business connections in the virtual world:

  • Break your bubble: Make a conscious and deliberate effort to interact with people outside of your "professional bubble" and those who challenge your ways of thinking.
  • Share your thoughts: Write and post helpful information, thought leadership and content relevant to your field - provided you are focused on delivering value to the community.
  • Take the plunge (if you haven’t already), and join some online groups: Get busy on LinkedIn and Reddit, be an active "slack-er" (join professional slack groups), follow chat with thought leaders on Twitter.
  • Get out of your remote office: Use virtual co-working spaces or even create your own with zoom.
  • Be ‘virtually’ present: Attend more virtual events in your industry or online events that you’re interested in, and get involved in the online chat rooms - the chat is where it’s at! Be in the conversation then connect with those people on LinkedIn thereafter, referencing your conversation and some sage points they made or offering an article that may be of interest to them.
  • Demonstrate engagement: Much like ‘the chat is where it’s at’ in a virtual event, your engagement with other people’s static content online is always a great connecting base. Reach out and comment on posts of people/clients of interest regularly. It can be as easy as thanking them for sharing great content and why it resonated with you.

Important things to remember about networking: 

  • Networking is about giving. It is not about selling or receiving.
  • Remember whenever you help someone else it will come back to you fourfold; be as helpful to others as you would like them to be to you.
  • Make introductions regularly; speak up about good experiences and talented people in rooms when they aren’t there!
  • Give recommendations and testimonials where and when they're due.
  • Stay up to date in your field of interest.
  • Get comfortable with vulnerability - that is where you spark an authentic connection.
  • Focus on making the other person feel comfortable, and much of your anxiety around the “networking” piece will fall away.

For more tips on better networking head here.

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