Where did the time go? It has been more than two years since the pandemic began, and networking has evolved into a hybrid of in-person and on-screen communication. Yet, building relationships remains the same. Be clear, consistent, and kind, and you will build powerful and engaged relationships.
As events return to in-person, it’s beneficial to use your new online skills to grow a network. Building your habits to combine on- and off-screen connections results in stronger relationships and, therefore, more success.
For example, if you are not a fan of using social media to expand your connections or maintain your existing relationships, consider these tips to overcome your hesitation, increase engagement, and build rapport. Online connections are here to stay. People research one another, email each other, and use social media platforms to blur the lines between personal and professional in many industries. Don’t worry though, in-person connections will always remain powerful, too.
Here are three tips to give your networking confidence a boost.
Be Clear. Know why you want to have a network and be intentional about what level of network you can maintain. A network isn’t about having a large number of relationships; it’s about having quality relationships that allow you to get things done. Often, people don’t think about their network until they want a job or need to increase sales.
As you head out to events, know why you want to build connections. This includes knowing what you bring to the relationship. And it’s not all about you; it’s a two-way street. Being intentional about whom you want to meet with, whom you want to support, and why, comes from clarity—it can range from the individuals you want to meet at an event to how often you want to go online and use social media.
Be Consistent. How do you show up? What do you say? How do you find common connections and things to talk about? I see people go on LinkedIn every single day and never make a comment on other posts. To increase and deepen your connections, say more. One line on a connections post can show that you are interested. An authentic, personal comment can go farther than just a thumbs up with no context.
To ensure you are making these connections, create a LinkedIn habit and use it every day at the same time.
Be Kind. Networking can seem like it’s all about you and what you want, especially when you’re feeling isolated or disconnected, which is now a common feeling for many people since the start of the pandemic. Imagine what you can do for another person. If you have spent time on social media in the past two years, you know that there are people who post a lot but are missing what I refer to as “online empathy.” Empathy can show up as an emoji, which can add more depth to the connection.
This world of building a network on- and off-screen is so important. It drives business and performance. Being clear, consistent, and kind can create an individual that others want to be in a relationship with and do business with.