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Networking Through A Pandemic

 Mar 21, 2020 9:00 AM
by Helen Spence

Looking back at my blog on networking in 2017, I think it’s time and timely to update. In light of a growing pandemic, it’s also more important to practice the art of networking online.

Essentially, the same basic principles apply. 

  • Be yourself.
  • Take quick notes as you find information about the person through LinkedIn or on other platforms.
  • Ask good questions if you can chat online or meet virtually.
  • If you see an article that might be of interest to someone, share it with them.
  • Use LinkedIn to acknowledge work anniversaries or birthdays.
  • Message the person when you invite them to connect on LI.

At some point, we will be going back to meeting people face to face and looking them in the eye. When that happens, make sure your body reflects genuine interest and you make eye contact. You might also be interested in some tips that Michael Hughes, (www.NetworkingForResults.com) has on offer

In late February, I had the good fortune to attend a session put on by the Kanata-Carleton Small Business Network at RBC on Hazeldean Road. This five-year-old network provides resources for small business owners in the region. They invited Michael Hughes as their speaker. Within 5 minutes, he had the audience mesmerized. Michael took networking to the next level.

I learned a lot. Michael helped me reconceptualize and understand how networking was really a leveraging strategy. Through extensive research and practice, he has put together a model to manage the social process of networking. Apparently, after the initial second, individuals only have 25 seconds to really capture interest. For this reason, it is essential that business owners are able to articulate their value proposition quickly, ideally in 15 words or less. 

Much of what he shared with the audiences added greatly to my understanding:

  • Business is about results; results arise from opportunities; opportunity arises from relationships.
  • A relationship is defined as the intentional process of creating and developing connections from initial contact to ultimate outcome.
  • Always offer something as a contribution to the relationship.

The session inspired me to rethink how important that first impression is and how best to manage it. I have returned to my notes frequently as I’ve been meeting new people online. I want to make sure that the connection is friendly and inviting. 

Today, with the onset of COVID-19, I am trying to reframe what I learned to apply to our new reality... self-isolation.  Working from home but still trying to develop relationships out of opportunities online. It's a new challenge but these truths still apply: build trust, be visible and show your value. Thank you, Michael. You left me with lots to practice, in real-time and online.

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