There has been a lot of attention in the media over the last few weeks about how to stay in touch with family and friends whilst following the social distancing requirements.
But what about staying in touch with your business connections – can networking ‘work’ in a community that is social distancing?
Of course, for many of us, maintaining our professional connections in an e-world is nothing new. Connecting electronically has been part of our networking toolkit for some time, enabling us to stay in touch between our face-to-face catch ups.
Whilst operating in a majorly digital world might feel different, the principles of successful networking still apply.
Networking can sometimes get a bad rap so let’s clarify what we mean by networking. Networking is about building trusted relationships and connecting with others to share information. Networking is of course done for mutual benefit, however a key focus should be on how we can help others with their needs.
There are lots of lists going around that set out the benefits of networking and a bunch of dos and don’ts. At ASC T&D we spend an entire session talking about networking in our Certificate IV in Leadership & Management course.
Without dismissing the value of those lists and that discussion – we wouldn’t spend so much time on it in the course if it wasn’t important – it is useful to distil all the information down to one underpinning truth.
Developing and maintaining your professional relationships takes time and effort.
Relationships are organic and like any living thing, they need to be nurtured and that means maintaining regular contact with those in your network. What constitutes ‘regular’ contact will obviously depend on each connection.
The take-home being that successful and meaningful networking requires time and effort. Essentially if you want strong and healthy networks then you need to do the work. That means putting aside time to connect and to give back to your network.
Whilst ongoing social distancing requirements mean that face-to-face contact is a non-starter, our working-from-home regime does provide the perfect opportunity to put some focus on our professional relationships.
Think about what you may be able to share that might help someone else out – it might be your time, your advice, forwarding on a relevant article or even passing on a referral – and then make it happen. Reach out and reconnect. There is no time like now to pay it forward.