Networking events as we know them may seem to be a thing of the past.

With high volumes of individuals all gathering in proximity, COVID influences the prospects of these events being back in our calendars any time soon.

It is hard to image what events might look like in the future but for now their values are no less significant. The core principles of networking events are to connect likeminded people through the convenience of all being under the same roof.

These tips will help you form valuable connections whilst staying safe.

1. Work out why you want to build connections

Is it to grow your business? To get a job? Expand your client base? Take advice? Or simply to just build your digital following. Any reason is a good reason if you set it as a goal. Think about how many connections you want to make a week and by breaking it down into smaller targets that are achievable you are more likely to stay on track for your end goal.

2. Use technology to your benefit

LinkedIn, Business Forums and Social Media are the biggest platforms for accessing the global market of talent within your industry. Follow all the pages and business profiles so you can keep up to date with their news and see who is making the most impact within their sector. It also allows you to engage with them and form connections that way. A little effort really does add up when it comes to digital networking.

3. Keep things current

First impressions count. Update your profile, keep your information current, add your interests and skills that are
relevant to the industry or career you wish to enter. All these little aspects create an image that portrays who you are to those who view your profile. Making sure this information is kept up to date will allow connections to understand where you are in your career and be able to  offer guidance or relatable advice. Simply adding skills to your profile will do little for your growth, you need to really understand the topics and be able to hold a conversation should someone ask you about them.

4. Reach out to those who would have been at the events

Although networking events are currently on hold, there is a huge amount of people who still manage to collaborate
within the guidelines. We are seeing a rise in digital events to bring people together. Whether that is through Facebook groups or TED talks, look at the guests who have signed up and connect to those who you feel would be
valuable connections to have. Join online webinars, participate in business forums, give your opinion on a topic… the list is endless. The interactions you chose to pursue now, will create your digital profile that future decision makers will look for.

5. Connect with leaders at your own work/company

Speaking to people you already know for new connections and introductions is a great tool to utilise. Business owners, line managers, receptionist, even the guy who makes your coffee in the morning. All these people will have their own connections and starting your search off local will allow the expansion of your digital network to occur naturally. Asking around, friends and family, they will all be able to recommend people they have met. It cannot hurt to ask!

6. Consider a co-working space

If there is one thing co-working spaces are a great for, it is networking. Hot desk memberships are becoming the more popular choice not just for businesses working remotely, but for their networking capabilities. You are surrounded by likeminded individuals which provides a space to gain valuable knowledge and the opportunity to meet contacts. Working in a co-working environment puts you in the right mindset and more importantly, the right location to access people who could benefit your growth. The diversity factor is also apparent in co-working spaces. Having conversations with people you would not normally expect to meet but who prove to be an amazing connection. It allows you to make the most out of networking and talk to a wide range of people.

Published 3rd March 2021