The thoughts of walking into a face-2-face lion’s den or logging into a virtual lion’s den are overwhelming for most! Why? Because fear is setting in and one is not sure what to do, what to say, what to expect, or what to ask! When Face-2-Face settings return, the additional question of how to ‘work the room’ also comes to mind! Because we are primarily meeting others via Zoom, at this stage of the pandemic, my suggestions below have the virtual spin. How do I define the ‘Art of Networking?’ It is the art and talent of possessing the ability to turn idol acquaintances into meaningful connections!
1) Look how you show up! Check your lighting, background and how you look–as you log on–and adjust accordingly, before you engage and get full-throttle into the event. Tips: No one wants to look at your ceiling, at your floor, at your chin and neck, or at your knees while you are driving. In these cases, if you can’t adjust, it is best to not be on the virtual call.
2) If you have audio and video capabilities–use them! I parallel turning your video off and muting your mic, as if you were attending a face-2-face event with tape over your mouth and a paper bag over your head. How effective would that be??? It is not, so I ask, ‘What is the purpose of such behavior during a virtual event?!?!?!’
3) The ‘downside’ of virtual events is that you cannot always control who you meet, as you are typically placed in breakout room, by the host. So, embrace the room you are placed in–DO NOT PREJUDGE others–LISTEN and HEAR what they have to say!
4) Your mindset needs to be–’What can I do for others?’–versus, ‘I am here to sell and everyone needs to buy from me!’
5) If your heart is to serve others and connect people to others–then the law of reciprocity will prevail. Your ‘odds’ of receiving referrals and connections from others will INCREASE, as a result!
6) If you are in Career Transition–be intentional with the time that you have in each breakout session. There is nothing wrong with announcing you are in Career Transition–and following-up your statement with 3 specific positions you are capable of performing–and better yet, state 3 companies where you envision yourself working!
7) For example, let’s say Joe is in a virtual networking event and says the following: “Good Afternoon Everyone, I am Joe and I am in Career Transition! If you know of positions in Project Management, Analytics or Sales Forecasting–then I am the perfect guy! I am extremely grateful for anyone you can connect me to, who works at SalesForce, IBM or Dell. I will put my contact information in the chat box so we can connect. I am happy to see who I can connect you to, as well.
8) Why does this work? Because Joe is being specific, and he is making it easy for others to know how they can help him. Overall people DO want to help each other!!! As a result, if you BECOME connected to someone…then you are miles ahead of where you were before. If you don’t receive any immediate connections, that doesn’t mean that you won’t! Timing is EVERYTHING!
9) But–if you do become connected, you MUST follow-up and nurture the relationships with both the person who was kind enough to make a connection and, of course, with the person they connected you to.
10) The more often you release your wishes out into the universe, the more likely you are, that your wishes will come back to you! Intentional & Powerful Networking is the way to begin!
Next week….stay tuned for ‘The Power of References’