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7 Ways to Make the Most of Networking in a Virtual World

Published Aug 31, 2020 by Julia McGowen

Chris Perfect, Owner and Principal Consultant Concept and Perspective, LLC

The global pandemic has caused innumerable shifts to the way that people live, work and do business. One such change is how we connect with others. Since March, people have been called to master video conferencing and new technologies that make business and communication possible in a socially-distanced world. 

While Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings have become commonplace, developing meaningful connections with new contacts through these mediums can prove to be challenging. To help business development professionals and entrepreneurs navigate networking in the virtual world, we asked Chris Perfect, Owner and Principal Consultant of Concept and Perspective, LLC about how to make the best digital impression that leads to valuable connections. 

How have you approached networking in a virtual setting?
For my business, success is driven by strong relationships of trust. Virtual networking is an opportunity to make an initial connection that leads to further meetings, discussions, etc. Time is limited in virtual networking events, so I'm very focused on presenting what I do as clearly and succinctly as possible, but also make sure that I give others an authentic view of who I am.

What are your top tips for making the most out of virtual networking events?
For the organizer, make it fun (but not inane), be creative with the format, and find an engaging facilitator. The Partnership has been great in offering this during their Net Effect virtual networking events.

For participants, remember that you are on show. Take online networking as seriously as you would in person. Be mindful of your camera angle, background, and the quality of your picture. Also be ready to share something about yourself, otherwise you're unlikely to make a connection. Use moments of inactivity to connect via LinkedIn and then follow-up!

What advice can you give to those looking to develop business connections virtually?
The more events that you participate in and the better you are able to show others who you are and how you can help, the more connections you will make. Take the time to nurture relationships.

What are your secrets to success when working a virtual room?
Think about what your personal brand is and then make sure that you reflect that. I want people to think of me a friendly, polite, interested, and engaging, so that they are open to that next conversation.

My top tips for working a virtual room:

  • Only speak first if it’s to ask a question of others or to encourage others to speak.
  • Post you email address and phone number in the chat straight away.
  • If someone says something smart, funny or interesting, tell them! Or, even better, tell someone else "I like Jane’s ideas for improving online networking."
  • Never miss an opportunity to say thank you or to praise the facilitator/host.
  • Make sure that you've read the news. Topics such as the weather, business, sports, and events could come up in conversation.
  • Tell everyone that you are keen network and invite others to connect with you on LinkedIn and then follow-up!
  • Most of all – be authentic! 

Take advantage of the Partnership’s upcoming events to connect virtually with other members. Learn more about leveraging business development and connections through Partnership membership here.

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