Hot Tips For Online Networking Events
A week ago, I discussed the importance of networking, and finding people in your community with whom you can talk to and gain insights from. Building relationships where you are able to share your experiences and find like-minded people can be challenging, even in the best of times. Many people turn to the online community, where there is an increasing number of people who are making themselves known and available in the online space.
LinkedIn has become a very large space for people from any industry to find and make connections, and it is probably this feature which is the most valuable part of the platform. As the “professional social media”, the idea is that it’s supposed to be social, allowing people from all walks of life to connect and find their common interests. Creating a high-quality LinkedIn page is a very good start when searching for connections. The platform itself makes it very easy for anyone to make their own great page right from the comfort of their own home.
Aside from this however, the popularity for online networking events has been increasing over the last number of years, especially with the onset of a worldwide pandemic. More and more people are either without work or stuck at home, and tools like Zoom or Skype have made networking in the online space a breeze. People can take an hour or two out of their busy schedules to mingle with people anywhere in the world with the same goal of meeting new people and expanding their network.
For some, talking is very easy. They could talk all day long about a variety of different subjects and be perfectly happy to do so. You might think that because of this, networking events would be simple! Unfortunately for you though, by the end of the call you might find that you have indeed done the majority of the talking, and you know very little about the other people in the call. They got a great experience out of you, but you didn’t receive so much in return. You have no idea how much value a connection with these people might end up being, and the likelihood that you want to keep a connection with them feels very low.
Let’s look at the other side. Perhaps you’re a decent speaker, but you tend to stay quiet most of the time. The same person on the other side is dominating the floor, and you love to listen, soaking up all they have to say and thinking they are a fantastic connection with whom you would like to keep in touch. Unfortunately, as we just saw in the previous example, they have no idea who you are, and it feels unlikely that your connection will be a strong one.
This is where we need to reconsider our approach, on both sides of the table. It might be challenging to talk about yourself, or perhaps you find it frustrating that you’re the only one participating. Ask open ended questions. These are questions which do not require a yes or a no answer, and some questions are better than others. Questions like “What are your hobbies?” or “What was your inspiration for joining your field?” can produce excellent results for determining who you’re talking to. If you’re someone who likes to talk a lot, it might be easier for the other person if you answer the question first, just make sure you give them an opportunity to answer! For the more timid person, there is nothing to worry about! These meetings are supposed to be safe spaces to speak, where nobody will be judged, and everyone gets something out of the experience.
Your best connections will be with the people who have the best back and forth conversations. It’s not dominated by one person or the other, but rather each party has the opportunity to say their bit and feel like they have contributed meaningfully. Both people should feel like they know the person a little bit better at the end, and it’s very important to exchange contact information and continue to keep up with each other regularly. If someone doesn’t respond to you for a while, that’s okay. Remember that many people have busy lives, and sometimes that many people often only have a certain amount of energy in a day to be social. Give them some space, be patient, and most people will respond in time. If not, perhaps try again at a later date, but always keep them around. There is no limit to how many people you can have as connections, so no sense in deleting them!
Online networking events may be newer, but that doesn’t mean they hold less value. See if you can find a few groups or organizations which hold these types of events and join in on the calls. You never know who you find, and who knows, you might end up finding your new best friend.Follow: