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Connecting Virtually

Networking in a Pandemic World.

Just because we are in a pandemic doesn’t mean we want to fall away into the shadows of darkness and wait till this nightmare is all over. The thing is, we need to put a little more effort into staying connected with some creative ideas.

I was enlightened when I had an email from a past participant of the Springboard Women’s Development Program today, after joining the program two years ago. I reached out to our group to check in an ensure they are on track and making those progressive adjustments in life. To get an email back asking for a virtual coffee was great.

Networking isn’t all about the big sales pitch, making sure we get what we want and driving to the outcomes we are searching for.

Right now it’s about being connected in this disconnected way we are living. Working from home is a struggle for some people, whilst others are relishing in delight. Others are burying their head in the sand hoping this is all a bad dream. I wish!

Chances are, whatever you are feeling, someone else is feeling the same way too. And it’s always important to remember we are not alone. That there is ALWAYS someone we can reach out to and have a conversation, share a story or engage in some way.

Here are some ideas of ways to connect:

Share the Learning: If you have read or watched something of interest and you feel it could be useful, beneficial or you found that someone popped into your mind whilst viewing it, then send a short email or message to someone. Don’t assume they see everything you see. This could make a difference in their life. They may really appreciate you sharing. And it gives purpose to connecting. Doesn’t need to be a huge long email, who has time to read that! Short and to the point.

Gift of a Quote: You never know if someone is having a tough day, you may see a quote come into your view. Share with someone you care about, a colleague or friend may want a gentle reminder, a refreshing thought, or an act of kindness goes a long way.

Virtual Coffee Date: There is no reason we can’t still connect over a coffee. Ask someone for 15 minutes of their time for a virtual meeting, ensuring it has purpose. You may be looking at something in your career and you have some burning questions for them. You may have seen them act or do something in a certain way and you are inspired by this and want to know how they do it. Think about why you want to connect and grow your conversation around that. Think about networking as being curious and wanting to learn how others lead their lives, some great growth can come from this and when we are curious it fosters a more natural connection. To helps with the flow of conversation, share a little about you too.

Share or engage in a LinkedIn post: The world is rapidly changing, and this can create movement towards your social media on a professional platform. Those being active are ramping up their profiles to be seen. Ensure what you share is authentic to the message you want to get across. And check in with your profile, ensuring that all your information is up to date and you have a professional picture of you. This is LinkedIn not Facebook after all.

Join a forum: If you’re interested in something specific find a forum that you can join virtually. This is great for our shy tribe. There is access to so many free events that you can be part of, even if it’s something within your greater organisation. You can contribute or sit back if you wish. It’s a chance for others in your space to not only discover you, although to see what you can bring as well. What could be better than connecting with like-minded people with the same interest, mutual ground already. This can be personal or professional. Sharing a space with people that have the same interest can start to develop your tribe authentically.

With no banter and humorous chats happening in the office throughout the day, we are missing that social connection. Take some time out of your week to connect with one or two people you don’t know much about, want to revisit or that you think you or they can add benefit to each others lives.

Give it a shot, one small action each week – whether it’s a virtual coffee, an email with an attached article to share, joining a new forum of like-minded people or generating a conversation with those inspiring people around you. Take the plunge and connect yourself in this disconnected world.

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