Crafty Connecting: Staying Connected While Being Apart
Updated: Aug 14
Regardless of your position or where you are in your career, networking is important! Creating connections is important for building business, advancing your career, and connecting with your community. A lot of people will lay out their networking calendars in advance using platforms like Eventbrite or the event feature within Facebook. But, what happens when a pandemic hits and we are advised to stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask? How do we stay connected and move forward? There’s certainly going to be a learning curve, but there are ways to stay connected with a bit of creativity. Here are our thoughts:
Cultivate Your Existing Connections: Quality Vs. Quantity
Let’s say that 150 times within a year, you pass a co-worker in the hallway coming back from getting coffee. You give a quick nod or a brief hello as you are rushing back to your desk. Now, let’s say that instead of the 150 times you made contact with them, you sat down with them just once to have coffee and spent 30 minutes getting to know them. Would the 150 times you passed each other in the hallway even compare to the intentional connection you had with them, just once? That person may connect you to your next client, help you land your next job, or introduce you to someone that impacts your life in a significant way, and vice versa. So what if you went through your acquaintance list and asked one person per week if they’d like to have a virtual coffee date with you? It’s not really about proximity as much as it is effort when it comes to making a meaningful connection.
Re-connect & Retain
You have your outer circle, and then you have your inner circle. These are your employees, your managers, your close co-workers, etc. These are the people that are most valuable to you, but who we tend to overlook. If you think about the times that you have felt truly valued, were they the times that you were paid the most amount of money? Probably not. Normally, the most fulfilling relationships are the ones where someone took the time to acknowledge you and/or your work. When business is good, that also means we are generally really busy. Regardless of the role you are in, there are people that rely on you. There couldn’t be a better time to look within your organization and your circle and invest in those relationships.
Leverage Social Media
LinkedIn & Facebook have virtual groups that can connect people miles & even countries apart. Take some time to create the “avatar” of who you’d like to connect with. Are there areas you are struggling in that you could benefit from some advice? What types of things motivate you? When searching for these groups, think about stages of life, goals, industry, etc. If you come across someone that posts or comments something that resonates with you, ask them if they’d be interested in a virtual coffee meeting!
TIP: To get the most out of these groups, be prepared to provide value as well. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of value you can share based on your experiences!
While you’re at it, make sure your social channels are up-to-date! Update your bio, experience, etc.!
Don’t Toss Your Event Calendar!
While many events have been canceled, many are offering a virtual option. It may seem like a disappointment to not be there in person, but give it a go! You’ll never know who you’ll virtually connect with, or what value you will be able to pull from it.
Create New Networking Calendars
It’s not time to pause your event calendar, in fact, it’s a great time to book up your calendar. Most “event platforms” are offering virtual events with a ton of different topics. Here are some places to start:
Meetup. With Meetup, you can search for events by topics (and online events are clearly marked). There is everything from career & business (you can get granular with your searches) to learning & tech. It may be smart to go ahead and put in your location, so you can start building relationships in your area for the future.
Facebook Events: You can log in and see virtual events happening now, or you can browse by topics or day/times. We also suggest keeping an eye on virtual local events as well. It’s a great time to support your local businesses!
Eventbrite: Check out virtual events recommended for you, or browse topics that interest you. Eventbrite also highlights “trending” events that you can register for!
Your own network!: Promote and schedule your own Zoom networking meeting with local members of your community or others in your industry. Select a theme and prepare an agenda but be comfortable straying from it. Allow all attendees an allotted time to speak about themselves. Offer a lunch-and-learn or tell everyone to bring their cocktail of choice to the event. You’ll be surprised how many people are eager to connect socially even if it is virtually.
We’d love to hear your favorite tips and tricks for connecting right now! Leave us a comment below!
At L.A. Financial Management, we are here to support you and your organization. We work with small and large organizations alike, as their outsourced finance team. Contact us today to set up a complimentary discovery session!