Networking professionally isn't what it used to be, mainly if you work from home or from a cafe. Although remote work is changing how we communicate, this is no justification for hiding behind your computer.
Building relationships with your professional colleagues online is known as "virtual networking or remote networking," It is just as necessary and beneficial as any conference or live networking event you would attend.
But is remote networking that easy too? For some, yes, it is, but for others, networking at work is tiresome.
However, regardless of your thoughts, remote networking is the key to your success. Not only do good networks get you better opportunities, but instead they also help you grow. Let's find out why remote networking is crucial for your growth.
Benefits of remote networking
- Increased accessibility: Remote networking allows you to connect with people from anywhere in the world, regardless of physical location or time zone. This can help you expand your network and access new opportunities.
- Building relationships: Working remotely can be isolating, but remote networking can help you build relationships with colleagues, clients, and other professionals in your field. These relationships can provide you with valuable support, advice, and resources.
- Convenience: Remote networking is sometimes more convenient than in-person networking. You can connect with others from the comfort of your home or office, and you don't have to worry about travel time or expenses.
- Career advancement: Networking at work can open up opportunities for career advancement. By building relationships with people in your field, you may learn about job openings, receive recommendations, or even be approached by recruiters.
- Diverse perspectives: Remote networking can expose you to various perspectives and experiences. Connecting with people from different backgrounds and cultures will help you gain new insights and ideas that can help you grow personally and professionally.
- Learning and development: Networking at work can also provide opportunities to learn and develop new skills. By connecting with professionals in your field, you can access training, mentorship, or other learning opportunities.
- Increased productivity: Remote networking can help you be more productive. You can connect with others quickly and easily without having to leave your desk. This can save you time and help you stay focused on your work while making new connections.
- Professional reputation: Remote networking will help you establish a positive professional reputation. Building relationships with others will help demonstrate your expertise, professionalism, and commitment to your field.
- Business opportunities: Networking at work can also lead to new business opportunities. By building relationships with clients and other professionals, you can generate leads or find new customers for your business.
We are sure you must be tempted by now! But do you know how to network with people the right way?
Know about the best ways to network? No? That is what we are here for!
Let's start with the best ways to network in a remote setting.
How to network with people- the best ways to network
1. Use online platforms
Take advantage of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with others in your industry. Join relevant groups and participate in online discussions.
Tips for networking- the best platforms for remote networking
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals. It allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry, join groups, and participate in discussions. You can also use LinkedIn to showcase your skills and experience and search for job opportunities.
- Twitter: Twitter is a microblogging platform where you can connect with other professionals and industry experts. You can follow industry leaders, participate in Twitter chats, and share your knowledge and expertise.
- Slack: Slack is a communication platform designed for teams. It allows you to create channels and groups for different projects or topics. You can also join Slack communities related to your industry or interests.
- Reddit: Reddit is a social news and discussion website where you can connect with people who share your interests. There are several subreddits related to different industries and topics where you can participate in discussions and network with other professionals.
- Facebook Groups: Facebook Groups allow you to connect with people who share your interests or work in the same industry. You can join Facebook Groups related to your industry and participate in discussions to build your network.
2. Attend virtual events
Many organizations host virtual events, such as webinars, workshops, and conferences. Attend these events to connect with others and learn about new developments in your field.
Tips for remote networking
- Find events relevant to your industry: Look for virtual events related to your industry or interests. You can search for events on social media, online platforms, or event websites.
- Engage with other attendees: Participate in virtual chats, Q&A sessions, or breakout rooms. This is an opportunity to engage with other attendees and build relationships.
- Connect with speakers and presenters: Attend sessions led by speakers and presenters relevant to your interests or industry. After the session, send a follow-up message or connect with them on social media.
- Participate in virtual networking events: Many virtual events have dedicated networking sessions. Take advantage of these sessions to connect with other attendees and build your network.
- Be prepared: Make sure you have a good internet connection and a quiet place to attend the event. Have your business cards or LinkedIn profile ready to share with other attendees.
3. Reach out to people
Identify people you would like to connect with and contact via email or social media. Be specific about what you hope to learn or achieve through the connection.
Things to keep in mind while reaching out to people
- Research the person: Before reaching out, research the person to learn more about their background and interests. This will help you tailor your message and approach.
- Reach out with a personalized message: Write a personalized message that explains why you are reaching out and how you can add value to their network. Be concise and transparent in your message.
- Follow up: If you are still waiting to hear back from the person, follow up with a polite reminder. It shows that you are interested in connecting and building a relationship.
- Be respectful of their time: Keep in mind that the person you are reaching out to may be busy. Respect their time and offer to connect on their schedule.
- Be genuine: Be authentic in your approach and show a genuine interest in the person and their work. Remote networking is about building relationships; authenticity is critical to solid connections.
4. Offer value
When connecting with others, offer value by sharing your knowledge, experience, or resources. It helps to build trust and credibility and can lead to further opportunities for collaboration and remote networking.
Some fantastic ways to offer value
- Share your expertise: Share your knowledge and expertise with others through blog posts, social media posts, or by contributing to online discussions.
- Provide resources: Offer helpful resources, such as articles, reports, or tools, to others in your network to show that you are willing to help.
- Connect people: Introduce people in your network who may benefit from each other's expertise or services. It will help establish you as a connector in your industry.
- Offer feedback: Provide constructive feedback on other people's work. This shows you are engaged in your industry and willing to help others improve.
- Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to volunteer for industry-related events or organizations. It will help you build relationships and establish yourself as a valuable resource in your industry.
- Host webinars or workshops: Host webinars or workshops on topics related to your industry or expertise. It can help you establish yourself as a thought leader and provide value to others.
5. Participate in virtual mentorship programs
Many organizations offer virtual mentorship programs, which can be a great way to connect with experienced professionals in your field and learn from their expertise.
How to participate in virtual mentorship programs?
- Find mentorship programs: Look for virtual mentorship programs relevant to your industry or interests. You can search for programs on LinkedIn, industry-specific websites, or by asking colleagues.
- Apply to the program: Follow the application process for the program you are interested in. Ensure you provide all the necessary information and highlight your skills and experiences.
- Engage with your mentor: Once matched with a mentor, engage with them regularly. Ask questions, seek advice, and provide updates on your progress.
- Attend virtual events: Many mentorship programs offer virtual events, such as webinars or networking sessions. Attend these events to connect with other mentees and mentors.
- Build relationships: Take the opportunity to build relationships with other mentees and mentors in the program. You can connect with them on social media or through email.
- Give back: Once you have gained valuable experience and knowledge, consider becoming a mentor. Giving back to the program can help you establish yourself as a leader in your industry and build your network.
6. Schedule virtual coffee chats
Invite someone you admire or would like to learn from for a virtual coffee chat. This is a great way to build a relationship in a more informal setting.
Here are some tips on how to schedule virtual coffee chats:
- Identify people to connect with: Make a list of people you want to connect with, such as colleagues, mentors, or industry leaders.
- Reach out to schedule: Email the person you want to connect with, explaining that you would like to schedule a virtual coffee chat. Provide some dates and times that work for you, and ask if they are available.
- Prepare for the chat: Before the conversation, research the person and their work. It will help you prepare questions and topics to discuss during the discussion.
- Have a conversation: During the chat, be yourself and have a natural conversation. Ask about the person's work, interests, and experiences. Share your own experiences and ideas as well.
- Follow up: After the chat, follow up with a thank you message.
- Schedule future chats: Don't let it be a one-time chat only. If the conversation went well, consider scheduling another virtual coffee chat in the future. It will help you build a strong relationship with the person over time.
7. Virtual coworking spaces
Using virtual coworking spaces is a great way to network when working remotely. Virtual coworking spaces are online platforms where individuals can work alongside each other, collaborate on projects, and connect with others in their field.
Also read: The best coworking spaces of 2023
Here are some tips on how to use virtual coworking spaces to network:
- Find a virtual coworking space: Look for virtual coworking spaces relevant to your industry or interests. You can search for spaces on social media or by asking colleagues.
- Collaborate on projects: Use the virtual coworking space to collaborate with others on projects. Collaborating on projects can help you showcase your skills and abilities.
- Use the chat or messaging features: Use the chat or messaging features of the virtual coworking space to connect with other members. Introduce yourself, share your interests, and ask questions to start a conversation.
8. Volunteer your time
Volunteering your time is an excellent way to remote networking. Volunteering allows you to give back to your community while also building relationships with others who share your interests.
Here are some tips on how to volunteer your time to network
- Choose a cause you care about: Choose a cause you are passionate about. It will help you feel more engaged and invested in the volunteer work.
- Engage with others: During the volunteer work, engage with others who are also volunteering.
- Showcase your skills: Use the volunteer work as an opportunity to showcase your skills.
Do's and dont's of remote networking
Be proactive: Take the initiative to reach out to others and build relationships. Don't wait for others to approach you.
Don't be too aggressive: Avoid bombarding people with requests or messages. Take a measured and respectful approach to building relationships.
Be authentic: Be yourself and let your personality shine through in your interactions. It will help you build genuine relationships with others.
Don't be too self-promotional: While sharing your skills and experience is essential, avoid coming across as too self-promotional. Focus on building relationships and helping others rather than solely promoting yourself.
Be respectful: Be respectful of others' time and boundaries. Ensure you have permission to reach out to someone before you do so and be mindful of their schedule and availability.
Don't be too informal: While remote networking can be more casual than in-person networking, avoid being too relaxed or using overly casual language. Maintain a professional tone and approach.
Be prepared: Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve through remote networking and be prepared to articulate this to others. Be ready to share your goals and objectives, as well as your skills and experience.
Don't ignore boundaries: Respect others' boundaries and privacy. Avoid sending unsolicited messages or personal information.
Do follow up: After making a connection, follow up with a thank-you note or a request for a follow-up call or meeting to show that you value the bond and are serious about building a relationship.
Don't forget to listen: Remote networking is a two-way street. Take the time to listen to others and understand their needs and goals. This will help you build more robust and more meaningful relationships.