I have heard so many times since the start of the pandemic, ‘oh isn’t networking hard these days now we are forced to do everything virtually.’
NO! No, it isn’t hard, you just need to think differently and take advantage of the opportunities you come across. I wonder if in some cases, people who don’t see themselves as natural networkers are grateful for an excuse to not prioritise networking at the moment. It does require some effort and conscious effort, but it isn’t hard.
I was speaking on a panel of a webinar recently on Zoom. There were over 100 attendees, so we had three pages of people live. I spotted some faces and names I recognised
One of the points mentioned on that very webinar by my co-host Basil leRoux, head of the HR Practice at Berwick Partners was that “the majority of HR Leaders I talk to say how their own network is either non-existent or not as strong as it should be.”
Here are nine ways you could take attendance at a webinar one lunchtime from an interesting input on a topic for an hour, to an interaction opportunity.
1. Put your full name on your Zoom account so other attendees know who you are. ‘Jamie’ isn’t going to cut it if someone wants to find you later and connect with you on LinkedIn.
2. Add a profile photo to your Zoom account. If you don’t, and your camera is off, there is simply a black square displayed with your name on it. Why not use your LinkedIn headshot photo there too. Double win if it helps someone recognise which is your profile when trying to find you on LinkedIn.
3. Turn your camera on. This immediately raises you above all of the delegates who have their camera off. It increases your visibility and makes it so much easier for people to interact with you, and you with them. (Don’t forget to blur your background if it isn’t camera ready, but make sure you are!)
4. Participate. Ask a question in the chat box, or if the opportunity presents, be brave enough to ask a question on camera.
And after the event…
5. E mail the organiser and panel members. You could thank them for the event and share what you found most helpful. If you are keen to build a relationship with any of them, ask them a question and start a conversation.
6. Connect with them on LinkedIn (always personalise your invitation request) so you can easily keep in touch and see any content they share.
7. Drop a message to anyone you knew on the webinar. It’s an easy, no pressure way to keep in touch and see how they are. If you want to, suggest a real-life coffee meet to catch up. It’s always good to convert online interactions to real life and vice versa.
8. Connect with other delegates who stood out to you, for example if someone asked a question which resonated with you, look them up on LinkedIn and if appropriate send them a connection request. Mention in the invitation that you found their contribution on the webinar relevant, share who you are and what you do so they understand why you want to connect.
9. Write a LinkedIn post about the webinar with your key takeaways. Tag the relevant people. By creating content, you are sharing useful information with your network who weren’t on the event.
My earlier post ‘How to network when you can’t leave the house‘ gives some more remote networking tips.
To learn more about working with me as your coach, to develop your networking or other career development topics, visit the Individuals page on my website.