Since the start of COVID-19, the art of networking has changed tremendously. Lunch meetings and networking events have been replaced by phone calls and virtual meetings, forcing professionals to reconsider their approach to making connections in their industry. Luckily, it’s still possible to build authentic relationships while maintaining a social distance. Follow these steps to learn how:
Rethink Your Usual Greeting
Instead of starting a meeting with your typical greetings, make things more personal by checking in on how they’re coping with all of the changes that have occurred since March. It’s nice to ask how their families are doing, and if there’s anything they need. Not only will this show you care, but your authenticity can help build a strong professional connection.
Opt for Video Chats Over Phone Calls
In the world of business, maintaining eye contact during a conversation is integral to building connections based on trust. When given the opportunity, opt for a video call over a phone conversation to show you’re present, invested, and engaged in the conversation. It’s important to continue following up with your professional connections throughout the pandemic. A great way of maintaining your network is to schedule a few video chats each week as an alternative to your typical in-person meetings over coffee.
Focus on Giving Back
While networking, it’s important to remember that many people have been struggling as the world adjusts to a “new” normal. It’s important to shift your focus towards how you can be helpful to your colleagues and those in your network and how you can give back. In doing so, you won’t only be helping others but your professional connections will be more likely to return the favor.
With many people continuing to work remotely, it’s important to remember that things are likely to be moving at a slower pace than they did pre-COVID. Remember to allocate more time for tasks, set aside extra time for technical difficulties while in meetings, and to expect response times to be slightly delayed.
Try these tips for yourself and continue building your professional network despite social distancing.