Networking is a necessary component of a thriving career. Like many other aspects of daily life, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly changed how we network with professional contacts, moving these meetings from the cocktail lounge or coffee shop to video conferencing platforms like Zoom. Though you may think that now isn’t a great time to network, the reality is that this could be a very opportune time to strengthen your professional connections and motivate yourself professionally. Check out these tips, which will help you make the most of remote networking during the pandemic.
Recognize the many benefits of remote networking.
Traditional networking may be familiar, but let’s face it: the entire situation can be inconvenient, overly time-consuming, or even downright anxiety-inducing if you don’t consider yourself a particularly social person. On the flip side, remote networking gives you total control over how you present yourself in your video camera and across other platforms, like the professional networking site LinkedIn. Because you don’t have to commute to a restaurant, you can save time. And, digital networking tends to be more direct, which can make communication more efficient and ultimately beneficial.
Master your introductory email.
Speaking of direct communication, the best way to set the tone for a professional meeting is to send an equally professional and concise email to the person you’re hoping to chat with. According to Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of The Cru, a professional coaching service, you should shoot off an introductory email that’s no more than six sentences long and should be clear and readable enough to avoid confusing your recipient about the intent of your message. Think about it like this: your email should convey that you’re a go-getting professional since you can’t convey that message in person.
Remember to consider current events.
Though we may be closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning, it may still be greatly affecting your contact. Be sure to keep this in mind as you initiate contact. Dufu recommends “acknowledging the moment—that we’re basically in the midst of multiple crises right now.” In the same vein, be sure that you aren’t asking too much of your contact. There’s always the chance that your recipient is struggling and may not have enough time or energy to meet. Stay empathetic and you’ll make the best impression, which will make it more likely that they’ll want to meet, now or at a later date.
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