Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the importance of networking for our careers. Not only does it open us up to new contacts, ideas and skills, it’s also crucial for finding new job opportunities, tapping into future talent and gaining the competitive edge.
Personally, I think networking during the pandemic has been better than it was before, and in a lot of ways, easier. For one, everyone is sitting at home in front of a communication tool, their phone. People are saying yes to a 30 minute virtual coffee who previously would have been ‘too busy’ to meet in the real world. By networking with intention, you can also diversify your network a huge amount, building relationships with new people from all different backgrounds all from the comfort of your own home.
Here are my top tips to successfully grow your network online
Quality over quantity – Rather than constantly seeking out new contacts, invest time in nurturing specific relationships. Studies suggests that having a small circle of trusted advisors is much more powerful than having thousands of lukewarm connections. Having close mentors, sponsors, peers – even rivals – who can provide you with informed guidance on pivotal career decisions and long term planning is fundamental for your career development.
Be Authentic – Take away the word networking and behind it is the simple act of building genuine relationships. Be yourself when approaching people, you are your own USP. Make it your goal to be open, friendly and honest, ask questions and listen to the other person. Be vulnerable and allow people to relate to you. This is the best way to build a resource rich network.
Look to specific networks and communities – Traditional networking events can be awkward and often you walk away without having plucked up the courage to actually speak to anyone new. Why not make it easier for yourself by joining a specific network or community that resonates with you. Start by attending virtual meet up’s or events where you know you will meet others who you can connect with and learn from. Don’t limit yourself to your industry, the more diverse your network is the better.
Build your personal brand online – Your personal brand tells people who you are and what you are about. There has never been a time in history where building your online persona has been so important. Know your area of expertise and start sharing insights across your digital platforms and be consistent about it. Showing up consistently and authentically will create trust and support for your work and increase your impact
Go Global – The beauty of the pandemic is that there are no geographical boundaries anymore. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, we are all in reach of one another and eager to connect. Networking virtually opens up so many doors for opportunities. Within the Rise Up Women community, we have members logging on from cities all over the globe from Sydney, Shanghai, New York, Atlanta, Amsterdam, London and many more. There are no limits to what we can now accomplish.
To learn more about how to build your network by joining the Rise Up Women community, subscribe to our newsletter where you will be kept updated on all our virtual meet up’s, networking events and expert led workshops.