How to network effectively during COVIDFeatured

As one of the millions in the healthcare industry, I know what it is like needing to stand out, yet feeling stuck in the Sea of Sameness. You want to be seen as a pivotal player in your industry, and to do that, you need a plan to network effectively.After feeling invisible too many times to count, I learned how to build thought leadership platforms for myself and others. As a result of these efforts, I found myself being invited to speak to groups of various sizes in a short amount of time and was able to launch a business that generated enough revenue to pay off student loans in under two years. If you are a professional woman who wants to learn how to "work the room" online without coming off as annoying, then you need to read this immediately to start networking during the COVID19 pandemic with ease.The goal of networking is to add value to another human by way of inviting them to learn about something or someone who will help them get to their desired end result or highest level of functioning. Even though the venue's are changed during current COVID times, you can still create meaningful professional relationships ( during this time of limited in-person events.Where can I find networking opportunities online?Research who gathers your ideal clients, strategic, referral partners, or people who may hire you en masse. You can start this work by subscribing to newsletters that cater to people of interest to you. Follow industry influencers on social media platforms. Make it a practice to check in with what is being shared via their marketing channels and take special note of networking opportunities announced via these channels. These opportunities may be webinars where you are allowed to introduce yourself, a social media live stream where you can add value and connect with people who have similar interests, or even a popup online community that will allow for deeper connection around a specific topic.How else can I find industry leaders?Many enterprise-level tools, software apps, and trade associations, have clearly labeled social media forums, webinars, online discussions and or tweetchats (yes, these are still a thing, especially for industries such as journalism and healthcare) that attract your ideal audience. These โ€œfishing pondsโ€ of online networking events may look like live chats, Q+A sessions, webinars, expert interviews.Great, I have a better idea of where to find people, now what?If you wish to network effectively without seeming annoying, I suggest you follow a framework that I call B.O.N.D.B.O.N.D.B- Browse the needs of people who have challenges that you can resolve with your brainpower, skills, services, or products When you find a group of people who should know that you exist, browse around looking for the questions that are asked. These questions will help you identify the needs of this audience. This step is essential because when you lead with addressing relevant needs vs being random, you will quickly become a welcomed value-adding community member versus a spammer who is trying too hard to stand out in all of the wrong ways.O- Observe the tools used by strategic partners audience (can you help them better use these tools) and prep for the event with questions to ask other people (take the pressure off of yourself to keep the conversation going)When you find this group, observe the tools that are being mentioned or promoted. Could there be a chance to find networking opportunities around a specific tool or software like Salesforce, Infusionsoft, or Hubspot?N- Narrow down what success looks like for the host of the networking group or forum and then Nurture these relationships through consistent conversation over time. It is easy to lead online conversations with things that we feel are important. Yet talking about a service that may no longer be top of mind to your prospective buyers can easily make us appear to be tone-deaf and not hearing what is of real concern to people we wish to add to our professional network. Instead, choose to get clear on what a win looks like for the people hosting and/or attending the networking event and be prepared to articulate how you can help them win and get to their version of success. Just like in-person events, it makes sense to attend events with a plan to nurture relationships and keep in touch. If the networking event is a Zoom meeting, be sure to download the chat and or otherwise capture the names and notes about the people with who you would like to stay in contact with over time. D- Deliver on your promise, show up, and execute the plan from steps 1-3.If you say that you will reach out for a โ€œcoffee chat,โ€ deliver on that promise and be sure to show up on time. Related to this, you can also deliver by making it easy for people to take the next in relationship step with you by using an intuitive scheduling app that automatically adjusts for time zones. If you would like other ways to get visible without spending all day on social media, please review the suggestions found in this article:
Love this! I'm a huge fan of acronyms so especially appreciate the BOND framework. Just to add another tip that I think has helped me this year is to actually block out time for networking, connecting, and giving back to my community to build a habit every week of building my network during this period.
@emilytsitrian Yes! Thank you for mentioning that!! Developing relationships takes time, nothing happens overnight or with an email or two. Blocking space for this effort will help a lot.
Thanks for sharing, Amelia! I love how practical and tangible all these action items are.
@HannahBaldovino You are welcome and you have a pretty awesome last name!
Haha thank you! I do love being Mrs. Vino ๐Ÿท lol!
Thank you for sharing these very useful networking tips!Where can I find networking opportunities online for Female Entrepreneur in tech?
@jobequality I wish there was a one single ever updating list for all opportunities ( in life while we are at it) , but Eventbrite is a place to start. Play around with the locations and see what comes up. Also brainstorm who is solving problems related to your community of interest, typically people who offer these solutions have events to attract people. I also share tips here, look at Episode 1: Where to find people:
Thank you!
@jobequality You are welcome and other tips are here:
Great tips! I especially love your definition of and goal of networking: โ€œThe goal of networking is to add value to another human by way of inviting them to learn about something or someone who will help them get to their desired end result and/or highest level of functioning.โ€ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ Not sure many people realize itโ€™s about adding value.This might be a nerdy question but, does anyone use a personal CRM for networking? If so, whatโ€™s your system and/or what tools do you use?
@stephaniecn Yes! My personal networking on social media often becomes professional, and when it does, the image is a general workflow I use and what I make for clients as well. Yet for personal use, something similar can be made to take folks from "stranger" to a "commitment" of some sort.
Cool! Thanks for sharing this, it makes sense. I've heard some people use a basic CRM to have reminders to reach out to people in their network. I'm considering doing that to turn up my network game. :)
@stephaniecn Yep, you can add a name and set a time to reply.
Thank you for sharing this Amelia! It's very insightful and I think that's something lots of people looking for for a while. Personally I still struggled a bit to network virtually but after reading your sharing I feel more confident to get the ball rolling again!
@juliachan Lovely! Feel free to reach out with any questions!