Whether you’re sweating over the thought of the world opening again or sprinting to social gatherings, a lot has changed since we closed our doors for quarantine. With Covid-19 vaccines becoming more and more accessible, people are getting back to in-person events and we are being welcomed into a “new normal”.
Networking is an essential part of any business-related industry and comes hand-in-hand with events resuming. Many of us haven’t socialized during these past few months and maybe rusty on our conversation skills. Nail your post-Covid debut by following these best practices.
After being online for so long, you may have become reliant on having notes in front of you to read off. Prepare for your next networking event by refreshing your elevator pitch. Don’t be robotic and memorize it, but make sure you’re comfortable with all the points you should hit to make an impactful introduction.
Just because we’ve done this before, doesn’t mean we should expect it to be the same. In-person events could likely be held in a much smaller capacity due to safety precautions. Use this smaller group setting to your advantage. Initiating more intimate conversations and take time to listen and genuinely get to know everyone. In these smaller gatherings, emphasize quality over quantity and have a more personalized approach for everyone you meet.
Practice active listening
With being sheltered from society for the past several months, many of us may not feel as confident in our socializing skills. Remember, to effectively communicate, you need to be a good listener. Actively listening encourages more beneficial conversations that could potentially help you make meaningful connections. Keep in mind networking is meant to be mutually beneficial, so the more you get to know and help someone else, the more they could help you.
Appear positive and comfortable not only through your conversation but in your body language too. We’re all exhausted from awkwardly forcing smiles over Zoom calls and being overly aware of our appearance on screen. Shake it off and relax when you’re finally back in person. Genuinely smiling and presenting yourself as friendly will make you seem approachable to prospective connections and welcome others to start a conversation with you.
Become a cross-platform networker
Although we’re getting back to business, these digital methods of communication learned during the pandemic are here to stay. To effectively network and get ahead, you need to master the new multi-platform realm of networking including social media, emails, video chats, texting, phone calls, and in-person events.
In the end, the pandemic has opened outlets for connecting and networking that we never took full advantage of before. Online, in-person, over the phone, or on a webcam, the new forms of getting to know and help one another are here to stay. Educate yourself and be prepared to effectively promote what you have to offer across all platforms.
Written by: Darien Graves