Virtual networking: 7 real-life tips on getting past the ‘awkward’

Networking is a simple task when you are working in an office. You sit close to your colleagues, exchange inside jokes, and form close bonds. Even if you – or your coworkers – leave the job, staying in touch through Whatsapp and other social media is possible. 

But what about the people who are working remotely?

Working from the comfort of home isn’t easy to network.

Despite the several benefits of remote working, it deprives an individual of an office atmosphere that grooms an individual’s communication and decision-making skills. Therefore, many remote workers often find the task of virtual communication increasingly difficult. 

But don’t worry. In this article, I will discuss virtual networking and how you can become a pro. 

Let’s get started!

 

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What is virtual networking?

Remember the COVID period when all types of communications were limited to Zoom video calls and Google Meet? If you are like me, you probably spent more than half of the meeting checking if your microphone was mute. Or feeling repeated bouts of anxiety, clammy hands, and a shaky voice while trying to talk during the meeting.

Phew!

That was a tough time. 

 

 

However, the remnants of that communication are still very much present today. Online meetings, workshops, and conferences are cost-effective and allow individuals across the globe to connect. This is all part of virtual networking.

Now that you know virtual networking,s let’s consider its importance. 

 

Importance of virtual networking

What three words come to your mind when you think of virtual networking? Torture. Unnecessary. Anxiety. 

In a way, the pandemic provided employees with relief. You could easily switch off your mic and camera and send an occasional ‘understood’ in the chatbox while watching the latest Netflix tv show in the other tab. All done and dusted without being present in the meeting. But, you can not always run away from virtual networking functions. 

Besides, there are various benefits to online networking.

 

virtual-networking-fact

 

That’s why it is a powerful tool to facilitate your career growth and help you advance your career. 

The virtual world has broadened to no limit. You can now connect with individuals from all over the work and build your career effectively. 

Virtual networking functions give you several golden career advice from experienced professionals, boost your self-confidence, and nurture your professional reputation.

 

How can networking help you?

Here are the many ways virtual networking can help you:

  • The more you network, the more your circle grows. You become more prominent in your field and eventually become the knowledgeable person everyone goes to for ideas. Networking is an efficient way to exchange ideas with like-minded people and grow your circle of intellectuals.
  • Imagine all the new knowledge, opinions, and thoughts you will attain just by talking to people from different backgrounds. It opens your eyes to new perspectives.
  • Do you check the menu before going to the restaurant, so you know the exact dish you want to order? Do you revise a script in your head while placing an order? This is why you should begin networking. The task might seem like an intimidating one, but it gives you a boost of confidence. 
  • Networking gives you a chance to explore more opportunities. We are used to limiting ourselves to our comfort zone because its predictability keeps us grounded. However, networking opens doors to several golden opportunities that can accelerate your career.
  • You can get promoted, find new career opportunities, or even renegotiate the terms and conditions of your current job. Plus, you can learn new hobbies and master skills.
  • Virtual networking allows you to make more friends from across the globe. You will connect with people and create bonds with them that will help your career and your growth as a person. People will share experiences, ideas, and stories with you. You will feel more confident in yourself. 

 

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GoVisually is your go-to solution for all communication problems, and by allowing seamless networking and connection among teams and clients, you can save ample time and effort. 

How to become a pro at virtual networking 

The art of virtual networking functions can open a whole world of opportunities for you. If it is done right, you’ll be connecting with more people online than you ever had in real life.

 

virtual-networking-and-careers-fact

 

Before you get started, there are a few tricks that you need to learn to get past the initial awkward stage of networking.

I have divided this section into two parts: 

  1. Online networking with individuals 
  2. Networking in virtual events

Excited? Let’s begin!

 

3 tips on virtual networking with individuals

 

Virtual-networking-with-individuals

1. Connect with people you already know

You don’t have to begin online networking from scratch. Yes, you might feel confident now and look up professionals in your field on LinkedIn. But, stop right there. Once the rush of confidence subsides, you’ll be back to your comfort shell. 

Here’s what you should do; 

Contact the people you already know before widening your horizon. Make a list of your ex-colleagues, former classmates, old teachers, and acquaintances – anyone you can think of. 

Write their names, profession, relationship with you, and how they can help you in your field. For instance, an ex-colleagues was brilliant at giving you advice; your old teacher was a role model in your field, etc. This technique is called warm call. 

 

2. Make connections

Before diving deep into networking, make sure you have connections to network with.

Scratching your head on where to begin?

To get started: 

 

Yes, Facebook might seem like a boomer’s field, but it is the perfect place to connect with people in your field and get more prospects. Join several Facebook groups, engage with people and add them to your ever-growing friend list. 

Don’t be a ghost follower of the groups. Post statuses, share your work, and comment on others’ statuses. 

Another good piece of advice is to join Facebook groups based on your hobbies – photography, writing, reading, etc. – this will also give you a chance to deeply connect with people on a personal level based on mutual interests and hobbies. 

 

With over 850 million members across 200 countries, LinkedIn is the perfect site for professional interactions. You can find several LinkedIn groups categorized by skills, industry, etc. Once you have joined these groups, engage in the conversations and get to know the members. 

 

Twitter is an excellent platform that bridges the gap between a commoner and an industry leader. You can tweet to anyone – celebrity, politician, or CEO – and even get a response! Take advantage of the versatility of social media to share your opinions and start a conversation with other professionals in your field. 

One of the perks of networking is: that there’s no limit. You can essentially network with anyone from anywhere in the world. 

This means you can even look up the experts in your field and connect with them. You have to go to their company’s contact page or look up their LinkedIn profile, and you’ll easily find them there. 

Here’s a tip: ask people questions. Their experiences in the field, their stories, and their opinions. People love to talk to someone good at listening and will be inclined to talk to you if you lend them your ear.

 

3. Don’t let greed take the best of you

Remember, greed keeps men forever poor!

In the world of networking, there are two types of people: 

  • Person A: I like your work. Can you support mine?
  • Person B: Hey! I came across your work and found it inspiring. Here’s what I like the most about it.

I’ll let you make a wild guess on which one gets the response. 

Yes, it’s Person B. Unlike Person A, Person B takes time to get to know the individual, compliment them and build a trustworthy connection. On the contrary, Person A only focuses on what’s in the business for them, which seems quite selfish. 

You can not automate human relationships. It takes a lot of time, sincerity, and effort. But, it leads to genuine and long-term relationships. 

 

4 tips on networking in virtual events

 

Networking-in-virtual-events

4. Attend virtual networking events

Virtual events are an excellent way to connect with people online. Virtual networking events allow you to interact and share ideas and opinions with other attendees, whether an online workshop or a conference. 

To prepare for an event, conduct thorough research on the event’s participants. You can look them up on LinkedIn and Twitter. Who knows, maybe you’ll find someone whose experience and work in the field might pique your curiosity. 

5. Prepare for a video call beforehand

If the virtual networking events require you to turn on the camera, you must be prepared. 

Many people – including me – dread the idea of video calls. It would help if you were actively present in the meeting, hung on to every speaker’s word, and answered the questions correctly. And you can’t always get away with the mic-not-working excuse.

Preparation is key to a successful meeting. Declutter your environment, and keep a bottle of water, a pen, and a notepad. Dress up nicely, and be in a room with good light and the least noise.

 

6. Introduce yourself the best way you can 

Well, that’s a given.

If you want to network online – whether with an individual or in a virtual event – you need to be prepared with a short introduction of yourself. 

Take a sheet of paper. Write down your name, profession, hobbies, aspirations, and what you hope to gain from the event. For example,

“My name is Sarah, and I’m a freelance graphic designer. I like experimenting with various techniques, and I’m passionate about introducing new trends in the art space. I’m attending this event to get advice on how to use my skills to improve my art that will help me land a job in XYZ company.” 

7. Be authentic and interact openly

Take advantage of the opportunity, and engage with the attendees as much as possible. 

Write down a list of questions you’d like to ask a speaker to take complete advantage of the event. Plus, writing the questions down is crucial in case your nerves get the best of you and you start to stutter; you will have a sheet of paper to help you out.

You can share your experiences in the field, the problems you have faced, and how you overcame them. This way, many participants might relate to you, and maybe they’ll contact you after the conference to chat more. 

 

Key Takeaway

Virtual networking effectively connects people in the same field or industry. Granted, it can be a slow process, but one that leaves you with genuine and long-term relationships.

So we hope our tips and insights help you break the ‘networking’ ice and become a pro at online networking. 

 

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Alina Zahid

Alina Zahid

Alina Zahid Khan is storyteller, writer, and entrepreneur and the content manager at GoVisually. Her passion is to share knowledge, helpful content to creative professionals. Want to write for us? Email us content@govisually.com and see our writing guidelines
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