Networking remotely is a fantastic way of expanding your network and building relationships with people who can help you grow your business. It allows you the opportunity to connect with other business owners without the time, effort and sometimes awkwardness of attending face to face events.
Orlaith.B, life and business coach and founder of The Mumpreneur Revolution, Scotland’s first child friendly networking and business events, explains how you can continue to network during lockdown.
Remote networking is a good way of ‘trying’ a networking event and seeing if it is for you without wasting time and money attending face to face. It is also a fantastic way of building relationships during lockdown when many business owners are especially isolated and vulnerable. Creating a safe space for business owners to open up and share is very welcome at this time.
Advice for networking remotely:
- Focus on community building with networking remotely as a part of this
The most successful networking events are those that combine the opportunity to grow and develop your business with a real and genuine community where members are united by a common bond. When choosing to network remotely … choose the events that have a real sense of community and want to develop strong connections as opposed to just push for sales!
For those creating a remote networking event, I would recommend that you also create a safe community space such as a LinkedIn Group or a private Facebook Group which allows members to share stories, ask for advice and build relationships alongside any remote networking events. This means that the remote events become considerably more effective as they are viewed as a safe space to grow and connect in with many members getting to know each other in the private group beforehand.
- Have a Plan
Whether you are attending or creating a remote networking event, it is worth considering exactly what you want to get out of the event?Organisers should have a clear plan on how to put attendees at ease, create the right environment from the start and to ensure everyone who attends feels heard whilst keeping the energy light and upbeat. Attendees can be easily distracted when checking in form home so having a clear agenda helps and letting them know exactly what to expect and when, will help to keep them engaged.
When attending a remote networking event, it’s worth ensuring that you are as present as possible and use your chance to share openly with the members. Aim to build relationships and ask about other businesses as much as possible before sharing your own. Effective relationships take time to develop and you can do this by expressing a genuine interest in the person you are talking to and first considering how you can help them before expecting help.
- Encourage the connection
Events where those attending are connected by a common goal will be more effective. for example: A remote networking for coaches from around the world or for local businesses kept apart during lockdown will work better than a networking just for business owners! When creating a remote networking always clearly communicate what it is that connects those attending including the goal of the networking. Always look to strengthen this bond with your story, your business and how you can assist others attending.
- Explain the software
Modern technology is amazing but for many people they are still getting used to how it all works. Not everyone will have the software already downloaded or be able to open the link. It is always worth sending attendees clear (step by step) instructions on how to access the networking and what to do if they experience any errors. This is like having a map to find the physical event and a list of buses to get there and where to park if you drive – not everyone will need this information but those that do will be very grateful you took the time to do this.
When attending an event where you are unfamiliar with the software … try it out before attending the remote event. It will make the overall experience more enjoyable and remove any IT headaches.
If recording an event … always let those attending know in advance plus when and how the recording will be used. This may impact how open attendees are and essential they know this in advance.