By SULLIVAN Consulting

Networking can bring you opportunities, help you grow your business and build your career, but how does it work when social distancing intervenes? The good news is that there are still plenty of ways to nurture and even grow your network despite the current restrictions we’re facing. Here are some suggestions to help you effectively network while social distancing.

Seek out online events

Many organisations, including TiCSA, are now offering their events online. Across industries, you can find seminars, workshops and even social events. There are plenty to choose from. As well as local offerings, you’ll also find interstate or overseas events you can attend virtually. Now might be a great opportunity to grow that international network.

If you have the time, taking a short course online is another idea. Again, there are many to choose from, suiting diverse interests and budgets. Not only will you be developing your skill set, taking an online course can have the added benefit of developing your network at the same time.

Have a (virtual) coffee

For many of us networking would also usually happen over a coffee with colleagues or peers. The coffee may not be the same, but this informal networking can still happen online. Video calls are great for some face-to-face interaction and can also work with groups. Otherwise a quick phone call, a message or even an email on your coffee break are good ways to stay in touch.

Networking effectively doesn’t have to be hard work. If you use fifteen minutes every Monday to Friday for coffee-break networking, you’d be connecting with five people every week without much time or organisation required.

Use your social media

Social media is perhaps one of the easiest ways to stay connected when you can’t meet in person. If you don’t use social media for professional purposes yet, now might be a good time to join. On the other hand, if you haven’t used your professional profiles recently it’s probably a good idea to give them a quick refresh. Most importantly, make sure your job title and organisation are current so that people can find you more easily. Then start interacting.

Read content from others. Comment thoughtfully. Share information relevant to your industry. Maybe even write an article of your own. Ideally, aim for a healthy balance between posting your own content and interacting with what others post. The same rules as face-to-face networking apply: be conversational and listen more than you talk.

Be present and engaged

Just like networking before social distancing, regular interaction is key. Therefore, frequently being present on the social media platforms relevant to you and your industry is important. Likewise, regularly participating in online events will likely benefit you more that sporadic attendance.

So set some networking goals. Then make a plan to achieve them. It could be as little as interacting on social media for fifteen minutes each day. Maybe you could contact two people each week to keep in touch. Sign up for an online event (TiCSA has some great options coming up) and commit to doing one each month. You could even invite a friend or colleague to join you or share that you’re going on social media.

Want more networking tips?

I hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful as we navigate the changes and challenges of social distancing together. If you’d like more tips and insights, I invite you to visit the SULLIVAN Consulting blog and follow us on social media.

Andrew Sullivan is a leader in the field of recruitment and executive search and possesses an outstanding track record of success over eighteen years placing candidates in executive positions across Australia and the globe. Andrew can be contacted on 0407 610 989.

SULLIVAN Consulting are a proud partner of TiCSA and are South Australian owned and operated.