Digital networking is the perfect antidote against career stagnation during the Covid-19 lockdown. While digital networking presents boundless opportunities to interact and collaborate, there are also a series of potential pitfalls for the uninitiated. Here is a quick, comprehensive overview of what business leaders should and should not to do.

Your Two Cents

Keep abreast of the topics that are affecting your industry. LinkedIn articles and Facebook posts from prominent industry leaders and publications are a good place to start. If you can contribute compelling and meaningful content, create your own related posts. Otherwise, share the articles that speak to you, but always accompanied by your rationale for sharing them.

First Contact

Just because you can connect virtually instantaneously with billions of people does not mean you should. One drawback of virtual communication is its reinforcement of the copy-and-paste mindset. Sending identical or even near-identical messages to your entire networking list is not the time saver it may initially seem.

Opt instead for a unique 3-pronged proposition:

  • Focus on an objective of value to that specific individual.

  • Highlight your abilities relevant to that objective.

  • Suggest a viable plan of action based on those two factors.

This approach eliminates the guesswork from your introduction and sets a fertile groundwork for collaboration. In short, it frames the proposed partnership as an opportunity from which it would be disadvantageous to walk away.

Look Beyond

The silver lining of forced virtual networking is that it has broken the monotony of our regular networking habits. Opportunities abound for creative and mutually beneficial collaborations with talented individuals from different industries and even faraway countries.

We would earlier have overlooked them in favor of direct, safe face-to-face collaborations within our established circles. Reach out to connect outside your comfort zone. Serendipitous meetings can lead to the most momentous changes.

Static Factors

While the shift to virtual networking is revolutionizing how we connect, these good habits continue to be beneficial:

  1. The Importance of Research. Preparation is key both in virtual and real-world networking. Use Google, LinkedIn, and reliable news sources to learn about a promising lead prior to contacting them. Interviews with your target and articles written by them offer the best insight into their motivations and interests. Everyone is looking to connect with the movers and shakers to further their own careers. Stand out for what you offer.

  2. Where to Establish Contact. LinkedIn may seem to be the obvious medium to establish a professional relationship but a recent study suggests otherwise. More than half (51 percent) of the platform’s members log on less than once a week and 31 percent check back weekly, which leaves a mere 18 percent who are regular users. Relying on LinkedIn may set you on a long wait. Good old email and phone calls remain the most effective ways to build your network.

Do you need further advice on how to create and keep your virtual network? We provide coaching services and more for business leaders. Contact us today!