By Chi Chi Okezie
Networking is constantly evolving in our changing society. Along with advancements in technologies and the way we conduct business, it is a vital piece to growth and innovation. Building networks and fostering relationships are key components to those moving pieces. A great way to enhance your networking objectives is to conduct virtual networking sessions. Take a step up from an email introduction and connect your colleagues via video conferencing. This is an excellent way to merge and grow networks as well as strengthen the lines of communication
Below are 3 tips for facilitating productive and professional online interactions.
#1: Be The Ring Leader
Take the initiative to introduce, facilitate and lead the networking meeting. This involves selecting key individuals that you view important for knowing each other. Limit the introduction to 3 individuals to keep the connections focused and manageable. Create an agenda for the meeting to organize the purpose and format of the meeting. Include the names of those participating, the time frame, topics of discussion and time for exchange / brainstorming. Use this format as a unique way to build deeper connections.
#2: Be The Dot Connector
Do not leave your networking to chance. Be intentional about following up with all of the individuals after the virtual meeting. Gather feedback and suggestions for improving the activity. Be open to additional recommendations and ideas for enhancing the overall experience. Also, consider having another meeting to touch base or facilitate more business. Consider setting up more meetings with different individuals who may find value in it. This is another form of engagement and outreach that can be extremely beneficial.
#3: Be The Advocate
Networking is about building quality and meaningful relationships. A good portion of that is supporting people within your networks and paying it forward (ie.offering assistance before you need help). Do not hesitate to refer and offer leads to those within the virtual meeting. Carve out time to ask questions which can help with business and professional development. Create a platform for exchange and enable other business activities.
Use these tips to broaden and develop your networks. Establish a means for connecting people, facilitating business and offering support. Continue to add value and reach your networking goals.
Chi Chi Okezie is owner/producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC in Atlanta, GA. Learn tips, tactics and techniques from the Champion Networker! Visit the SN Official Website: http://www.snseminars.com to read excerpts of her books, sign up for her newsletter, register for virtual events and classes or visit her blog!