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Remote networking: What is that and how to do it?

The current pandemic situation, caused by COVID-19, combined with a growing trend to work outside the usual environments, such as the office, opens new perspectives on the challenges of maintaining viable, lasting and effective connections between professionals. Even in companies or offices with a traditional approach, there is an increasing need for employees to make and maintain professional connections that allow better benefit for the parties involved. With the advent of information and communication technologies, particularly social networks, the way in which professional contacts are acquired and maintained underwent a revolution, giving rise to remote networking.

Remote networking is a way to build professional relationships with people of interest through virtual channels, and it’s as important and valuable as any conference or live event you might attend. Remote networking is, contrary to what one might think, more dynamic and inclusive, providing professionals with a greater set of connections, removing the restrictions of time and space, normally brought about by more traditional forms of networking. In addition, remote networking is an important part of any professional’s career development, allowing you to quickly and systematically find potential clients and partners, improve your skill set and keep up with the latest trends in your sector of intervention.

Read also: Remote work productivity: the (high) performance wears casual

7 ways to do remote networking

  1. Have an Online Presence

A strong digital presence is important. Digital presence offers you or your brand an ideal platform to communicate with partners or consumers. This aspect, in particular, offers the opportunity to set the narrative about who you are and how you differentiate yourself from other professionals. More than that, having a digital presence allows you to expand your presence to every point of contact you might have with people online. This also includes areas in which you do not have direct control over, such as conversations or feedback about your brand or professional performance on social media. Remote networking and building a strong online presence have many parallels. While this form of networking sometimes involves participating in an online event and meeting people, most of this networking comes from participating in online conversations or forums that interest you, which will allow you to meet other people who are also participating in those conversations.

  1. Embrace Social Media

Social media plays an important role in creating networking opportunities, and in communicating and bonding remotely. While there are many widely used social media platforms, the two most recommended for professional interactions are Twitter and LinkedIn. Both the culture of the Twitter and LinkedIn communities are very open, which means that many people are willing to answer questions, interact with others, and generally share knowledge and resources. One of the keys to using social media is to stay active and, even more importantly, respond to other people. The more you can help and contribute as a community member, the more likely you are to get an answer if you post or ask a question. Evidently, using social networks as a networking tool requires considerable effort by the user, however its wide reach and its effectiveness are more than plausible reasons to start building remote networking in this way.

  1. Participate in Virtual Events

More and more, webinars, forums, conferences or simply round tables have been taking place virtually all over the world. With most of these events online, there are numerous opportunities to engage with different personalities in your area of ​​interest. Virtual events are a timely way to learn from industry leaders and connect with like-minded professionals. Actively participating in these events is even better as they allow you to have greater exposure to the audience you are really interested in, opening up an opportunity to connect virtually with leaders and participants either by email or other professional social networks. A tip is to always start with an introductory note explaining who you are and why you would like to communicate with these professionals.

  1. Value Your Contacts

While networking can mean the need to expand your network of contacts and meet new people, it is important not to forget about your existing network. Another important aspect is to identify relevant people for you, and the connections that they may have with subjects that matter the most to you. Try to stay relevant and nurture existing relationships, and in doing so, you will find yourself in a position that offers gains at the same time that you also gain from people you want to associate with.

  1. Make Helping You Easier

Networking requires constant and very careful communication; which presupposes knowing the other or at least putting yourself in their place. If you need any help, advice or a favor, it is necessary to keep in mind that most of the people who make up your virtual network have a life and obligations of their own and are probably busy. Don’t ask too much, instead be sensible and make it easier for people to help you. Instead of presenting problems, look for solutions and ask for suggestions for a given situation.

  1. Limit Your Action Space

When it comes to remote networking it is highly recommended to write down some goals in terms of people you would like to be connected to and or associated with, as well as the topics or learning interests you would like to be more connected to. From there, circumscribe your involvement in social media or online communities according to those goals. Although building a professional network remotely is a significant investment, the results can come in the form of business or work opportunities, mentoring, partnerships, as well as unique opportunities to leverage your career, which without this effort might not arise, which makes networking remote an absolutely necessary tool.

  1. Take Initiative

By following the steps mentioned above and taking into account the fact that networking, whether remotely or in person, is not something that can be done overnight, you will always have a good starting point for building strong relationships and that can lead you to the opportunities you seek in the future.

Read also: How to work remotely: the balance of the new labor paradigm

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