Due to Covid-19 pandemic, large conferences and group meetings remain banned, and Networking is being carried out virtually. As the world is still recovering virtual networking will be the norm for quite some time now. Having said that, we need to admit that virtual networking is complex. Though there are opportunities to meet a lot of people virtually, it can be effective only when you do things the right way. You can ace this game of virtual networking by avoiding these steps.
1. Ignoring the power of face-to-face contact:
Job seekers need to do everything online, without pressing the flesh and meeting people. There is no substitute for getting out there and introducing yourself to people who might know someone who is hiring. Job seekers are misusing the Internet by relying too much on its networks and forgetting there is less room for rejection. Go at least two or three meetings a month. Ask questions and politely ask for their card and ask permission to stay in touch. If you want to build strong relationships with your networking contacts, the goal is to meet as many people as possible. To spend a few quality minutes with someone new, then move on a new prospect.
2. Not following through:
Networking is about building relationships and helping others before asking them to help you. Another common networking mistake is the lack of tracking or networking contacts. You need to remember to follow up with contacts to continue your relationship and build a good network. Email your contact and call them to schedule another meeting, but try not to go overboard. You can meet and know people at virtual events. Avoid sending connection requests directly from the “people you may now page”. Click the “Connect” button on the person’s profile to personalize your greeting.
3. Sending cold emails without commitment or prior context:
To build a meaningful relationship with a new contact, you need to have a solid foundation to get started. It’s hard to have a solid foundation from cold emails without context and prior interaction. If you want 10 minutes of someone’s time, you need to spend 10 minutes in it first to get to know them. Avoid reaching out to get in touch with someone via social media with a generic request. Networking is about nurturing relationships, so just because you have an immediate need, don’t act on it. Review profiles, read articles and reviews, and then offer value when signing in. Find out what content they shared on social media and leave a meaningful comment to start a conversation.
4. Lacking professionalism :
Thanks to LinkedIn and other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, it is easier to network and get your name known. Sadly many of us find it difficult to maintain a professional image online. Improve your LinkedIn profile and grow your network faster. Delete photos from Facebook that you shouldn’t have posted. No one wants to hear about your funny stories, let alone a professional contact in the network.
5. Dressing casually:
A common mistake during virtual networking is dressing and speaking casually. This is because of the level of comfort people feel when connecting from their homes. Dressing as if you are attending an in-person networking event can help give you a professional mindset in virtual meetings. This can inspire other participants to take your ideas seriously. The next time you attend a Skype chat, always keep in mind to dress professionally. Remember, that you have to watch and play the part to convince others you are ready to work and become a professional.
6. Asking too much help:
A common mistake during virtual networking is making a personal request where the recipient may not help. Instead of asking, I am applying for a job at your company, can you help me? Or I am interested in working with your company. Please share your work experience with them. If you’re trying to network in a particular business or get your name out there in an industry, ask your networks to help you connect with the right people. This will help you connect with more people who can help you with your job search.
7. Forgetting to say thank you:
Most common mistake people make when networking is not saying thank you. Since life can be busy and it’s easy to forget to send a thank you. Setting a reminder on Gmail to say thank you can help you remind yourself to show your appreciation to your newly gained business contacts. It’s a thoughtful way to let your connections know you appreciate their help and the relationship you’ve created.