It might seem challenging to stay connected with your colleagues, clients and professional network during this time of social distancing, but would you believe us if we said it’s actually easier than ever? Technology and innovation have created a wealth of opportunities to remain connected from the comfort of our homes.
For many of us, COVID-19 has thrown our daily routines a curveball. But it’s those same routines that often get in the way of simple projects like marketing ourselves. Our traditional ideas of networking in-person at industry events have changed, at least temporarily, so we’ve rounded up six helpful tips (six seemed appropriate because, well, six feet for social distancing) for effective networking while working from home. Here they are:
- Get involved in professional organizations. AV industry associations, such as AVIXA and CEDIA, and other professional associations, such as YPO (a global community for chief executives), AFP (Association for Financial Professionals), PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) and AMA (American Marketing Association), are providing learning opportunities, networking events and virtual happy hours for their members. Get involved with a professional organization that fits your niche, and take this opportunity to network virtually with other professionals around the world.
- Participate in virtual events. If you’re accustomed to expanding your network at face-to-face events, don’t let social distancing hold you back. Zoom Video Conferencing (and other platforms) are helping families, friends and colleagues remain connected across the world. The AV industry has a plethora of virtual-networking opportunities going on right now — from happy hours to full-day educational events, like LAVNCH WEEK.
- Harness the power of social media. Participate in relevant groups and discussions online by harnessing the power of social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn. The hashtags #AVtweeps and #AVisLIFE are two great examples of niche-specific opportunities to network with individuals on social. And, if you haven’t already, join the AV Industry Professionals (AVIP) group on LinkedIn, and join the conversation.
- Nurture your professional network. A simple “Hello, how are you?” can go a long way during this time. Reach out to your professional network via text, email or social media to check in and see how they’re doing. For many people, this is not the time to focus on closing sales but, instead, to nurture your professional network for long-term growth.
- Invest in professional development. Daily routines often get in the way of pursuing new learning opportunities or developmental goals. Where you can, use any extra time at home (or wherever you find yourself during COVID-19) to explore your interests and identify skill gaps. Prioritize the online courses, professional certifications or continuing education credits that help you invest long-term in your career.
- Volunteer your time. If you’re looking for ways to get involved while remaining socially distant, consider volunteering your time with pro-bono services for organizations in need. Or, you can provide your services at no cost and, instead, ask for a donation to a local food bank or non-profit. Lastly, consider sharing your skills by virtually mentoring individuals.
Use this time to hit “reset” on your professional goals. As we slowly inch back to our normal lives (and a more “normal” work schedule), dedicate a few minutes each day to virtual networking. The small short-term investment could pay big dividends in the long-term.
Which strategies are you going to try?