Successfully Networking from Home

Successfully Networking from Home

Here are some tips to network from home and satisfy your need to socialize, collaborate and expand your expertise.

1. Identify your end game

The first thing to do is ask yourself what you hope to gain out of expanding your professional network. Clear goals will save you time and make you more efficient. Your personal motivations will also influence your tone and approach.

Do you wish to:

  • Meet new people in the same line of work to discuss daily realities and challenges?
  • Get someone else’s take on a specific project, new product, or emerging technology?
  • Create a multidisciplinary team to deliver a project?
  • Explore a new field to add another string to your bow?
  • Advance your career?
  • Find a new job?
  • Promote your services?
  • And so forth!

2. Search for virtual events

Take advantage of virtual events hosted by associations or groups you're interested in. Most of these events are advertised on social networks.

There are also countless online training courses you can sign up for.

Every online networking opportunity gives you the chance to meet people who may share your current or future interests. Be available and open minded.

3. Broaden your horizons

Birds of a feather flock together, so you might notice your network has a lot of people with profiles that resemble your own. Mix things up by reaching out to people with different backgrounds.

For instance:

  • If you've been self-employed for 15 years and you’re now interested in taking a salaried job, approach people who work for the companies you’re interested in and ask them about the pros and cons of these employers. This will take you one step closer to landing that dream job!

If you're interested in an emerging technology and want to learn more about its potential, connect with experts who publish on LinkedIn or contribute regularly to IT blogs.

  • Plan and prepare for constructive discussions.

No one likes wasting time. So, whatever the reason you decide to connect with someone, do some homework ahead of time.

First impressions count, and you only get one first chance!

Be concise and to the point:

  • Skip your life story when you introduce yourself. You’ll get to share more about yourself later on.
  • Explain:
    • How you heard about them
    • Why you want to get in touch
    • How you think they could help you

If you're approaching someone online, you’ll want to draft and proofread your message before sending it.

When meeting by videoconference, write down what you want to say and review your notes before the meeting. It's a bit like going to a job interview.

Be prepared to answer the question: “Why should I add you to my network?”

Some people don't connect easily and want to know what you’re bringing to the table for a win-win relationship.

4. Set goals

Successful networking takes time. Don't set the bar too high. If one relevant new relationship every week seems like an achievable starting point, stick with it.

You can narrow down your needs, develop research techniques, and perhaps pick up the pace later.

5. Capitalize on existing relationships

If one of your business connections knows someone you want to meet, ask for more information or how to approach them.

Ready to move forward? Ask your mutual acquaintance for an introduction.

The goal here is quality and not quantity. Targeting the right people for your network will help you achieve your professional goals and ambitions.