The pandemic hit most areas of our life, including the way we work, communicate, and build relationships. Most importantly, self-isolating deprived us of the opportunity to connect with people offline. In 2020 we experienced a dramatic shift to online, adopting virtual solutions for personal and professional aspects of daily routine.
People now seek entertainment and consolation in engaging with online influencers such as YouTube and Twitch content creators more than ever before. Education transitioned to the virtual space — teachers and students had to gear up for heavy usage of eLearning tools and embraced online learning techniques. Those of us who are not occupied in essential jobs were confined at home and switched to remote work.
While we are slowly getting used to this new reality, there are some things we truly miss. Meeting new people and establishing bonds is something most of us lack in the digital-first world. If you are passionate about professional exchange and you believe networking is crucial to your personal growth, keep reading to uncover some ideas on how to meet like-minded individuals during the lockdown.
Networking is moving to the virtual space
Here are some ways to build meaningful networking connections with peers from your range of interests.
Attend virtual events
In 2020 online conventions soared, with some virtual event platforms seeing 1000% growth. Online conferences are hosted with the help of interactive platforms that allow attendees to communicate with each other, get access to live or pre-recorded content, and visit the sponsors’ virtual stands to learn news from representatives of the sponsor brands.
Look for the biggest online conventions in your industry and set aside some time to take part in them. This is a great networking opportunity that will enable you to stay on top of the hottest trends in your professional domain.
Register for webinars and online classes
Staying in isolation does not add to our productivity. While it might seem that we have more time for self-development when confined at home, the truth is we often lose energy and motivation to learn new things on our own. Joining an online class or webinar can give you a boost of inspiration as you will communicate with an expert speaker and other attendees.
Use networking apps
Traditional social media, like Facebook or Linkedin, remain a major channel to keep in touch with your circle of contacts. Yet, it may not be the best option to establish new professional relationships. Social media is a great place to follow the individuals you admire, however, it’s not that easy to start a conversation with an unknown person on these channels. Many people are simply not open to chatting with someone they don’t know.
The solution to this is to look for a community where every member declares openness for communication.
Take Binder as an example. This smart networking app is a true lifesaver as it offers this exciting opportunity to make valuable connections in the comfort of your own home. Binder was built for professionals who are willing to establish connections with peers. It makes it easy to find a co-founder for your new venture, a mentor or a new hire.
The app will recommend to you profiles of other people based on your mutual interests, professional skills, and location. All it takes is to set up an account and you can start swiping through people who are also looking to connect with you. The beauty of it is that two people will be able to start a conversation only after they both “liked” each other on the app. Sounds like a dating app? It’s a similar approach, but with Binder, you will be able to meet people for professional and business exchange.
Keep calm and network
If you feel stressed, frustrated, and unmotivated during the lockdown, you need to know that you are not alone. Many of us find ourselves in low spirits, without any energy to make new connections. And yet, human interaction is the best remedy that can truly cheer you up. Immerse yourself in meaningful conversations, stay positive, keep yourself busy and active.
Practice these networking tips to grow your career or business and who knows how many new acquaintances and discoveries are awaiting you. Socializing and exchanging ideas with aspiring professionals, even during these remote-first times, will bring new light to your daily life. As Brené Brown once said: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
About the Author
Yuliya Gorenko is a co-founder at Mischka — a marketing communications boutique. Yuliya has over 8 years of practical experience in public relations, influencer marketing, and content creation. Throughout her career, she has worked with over 25 brands from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong. Yuliya’s marketing expertise extends to various industries including FMCG, mobile apps, SaaS products, and EdTech.