When we recently postponed our Guided Networking Session in response to the COVID-19 virus concerns, it was met with great disappointment, followed by a poignant question: With so many events and conferences getting cancelled, how can I continue to meet people and network?
It’s a valid concern. Here are some ways that can help:
1) The Power Of One: I always champion quality over quantity. With cancelled travel plans or conferences, otherwise busy professionals may now have freer schedules and greater availability. Therefore, it’s a good time to set up one on ones, which are anyways, more focused and productive.
2) Keep Learning: For those of us who have had events and conferences get cancelled, why not meet with the organizers? Such interaction is seldom possible at the event itself. You can learn more about topics that interest you via the in-depth knowledge that only an organizer can provide.
3) Reach Out: Use this opportunity to check in with your existing network, and see how they are doing. When we remember and think of others, they too remember us. For example, recently, I had been sending messages to my network in Singapore, when one of them replied back disclosing that they were worried, because their daughter was a nurse at the local hospital and had been placed on home leave after developing cold-like symptoms. The family hoped it wasn’t the virus. I followed up a week later and thankfully learned that the daughter had fully recovered.
My sincere concern was also greatly appreciated. Going forward, I know that this encounter will always be far more meaningful and memorable for us, than any business transaction.
4) Expand Your Circle: While events and conferences may be getting cancelled, other possibilities still exist for you to meet. Volunteer your time and effort to local organizations that need your support. Besides promoting a worthy cause, you will also meet people from different walks of life, that you otherwise would never encounter.
I lived in New York through 9/11, and within a few days of the incident, local communities had set up hotlines and support groups, some of which I managed or attended. Participating in these, opened me to a range of diverse cultures, personalities, thoughts and ideas which greatly enriched my network.
5) Go Virtual: As most organisations these days rely on online tools to conduct business, you too can use the same to continue in networking with your connections. Engage meaningfully on social media by commenting, sharing or writing articles that provide value to your networks.
Lastly, take this time to appreciate and realize the value of human life and the impact we create. In today’s world, our relationships and inter contentedness matter more now, than ever. So stay strong and stay connected!
A final word. As with most things we read, it can lead to increasing our general awareness but may fall short on helping us with things, specific to our own experiences. If this is the case, go ahead and book a free consult with me, so I can help you with more precise steps.