Ways to Network in a Socially Distant World

6ft apart. Stay in your own bubble. That’s all we’ve heard for pretty much the entire duration of the year 2020. While we still have those regulations and guidelines in place in 2021, we are also trying to get back to as close to normal as possible. But there are still a few of those ‘normal’ events that can’t take place as they usually would, such as concerts, parties, and networking events. For many companies, networking provides essential connections and clients for their business. In a time where its already difficult to keep businesses afloat, how do we bring networking back to our everyday lives? Here a few ways that we at CityCentral have participated and seen our members participate in new forms of networking! 

 

Online Networking Groups

            Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other platforms that offer online communication have become a staple within a lot of companies. These platforms are used for meetings, project collaboration and to stay connected while working remotely. In the spirit of staying connected, many networking groups have moved to virtual meetings. How do I find these networking opportunities you might ask? A great place to start is on Linkedin! Linkedin is already the platform that is dedicated to business networking. If you aren’t already a part of a networking group, ask your connections, and if you can’t find a group you like, maybe think about starting one! Another great place to find networking opportunities in your area are websites like Meetup and Event Brite. These sites are great for finding groups of like-minded professionals to connect and get your online networking game on!

Social Media (Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram)

            When you think of social media, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Your friend from college’s endless vacation pics? Your cousins seemingly endless wedding album? Or maybe you think of connecting with old friends on Facebook or making furthering your business by connecting with other professionals on Linkedin? Social media is a great place for companies to connect with and show a more personable side of their business to their consumers. It’s also a great place for professionals to connect and share their work and life experiences. While Linkedin may have the explicit purpose of networking for professionals, more and more companies also strive to diversify their online presence by using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These more mainstream social media platforms allow you to connect with brands and businesses on a personal level. It’s also a great way to create more of a social media presence for you or your company as a networking participant. The more internet places you use to get out there, the better your chances are to make more connections. Try to form groups based off your current friend/connection base on these platforms. If you’re looking to start a new networking group, Linkedin is the perfect place to start. 

Outdoor Meet ups 

            You know what they say, when in doubt, take it outside! Okay… maybe the all knowing “they” doesn’t say that and I just made it up right now. While going outside may not be a typically touted solution to every problem, it’s a great answer to the problem of people being wary of networking indoors. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning an outdoor event. Space, location and weather are all important when it comes to deciding how to best run your outdoor event. Weather is probably one of the most difficult aspects to plan for when hosting an outdoor meetup. You can try to accommodate for inclement situations by having a tent or a covered area set up. Its important to think about the time of year when you start your planning. Location and space are a little bit easier to figure out, try finding a park, or an amphitheater. Any location with different areas and lots of space to spread out is ideal. When it comes to logistics, try to have a rsvp list! If you know how many people are attending, the event will be much easier to plan for.

Handwritten notes

Last but certainly not least, a great way to network and stay connected with those in your professional circle is writing personal notes! Receiving personalized notes by mail may seem old fashioned but that’s what also makes it so thoughtful. I don’t know about you but getting a handwritten note by snail mail is one of the best things ever! It tells the recipient that they were specifically thought of by the sender. This is a great tool to let your connections know that you take time to value your professional relationship with them. Try writing to your new connections, or even to clients to show them that you’re actively reaching out to them!

I hope these suggestions have allowed you strap on your track shoes and get to the starting line of running through networking in our socially distanced world. 

Katy Harrington
Katy Harrington
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