Top tips for virtual networking 

We all know the typical ways to network: by attending industry mixers, business dinners and conferences. But none of those has been possible over the past few months with so much of the world in quarantine. 

And even as various regions start to open up, large gatherings will be slow to come back and long-distance travel will be limited. How should you make new professional connections during this time? And how can you strengthen relationships inside your company when many people are still working remotely?

Harvard Business Review has identified some strategies that can help create connections: 

• Turn canceled conferences into private networking opportunities—Since the pandemic began, many conferences and other large gatherings have been canceled, but even in their absence, you can use them as a way to meet people. Take a look at the conferences scheduled for earlier in the year along with those that would have been coming up. Identify participants who were supposed to attend or speak or who came in prior years. Choose five to 10 people you’d like to connect with, and find something you have in common that might make them interested in meeting you. You can email them or send a message on LinkedIn and set up a virtual meetup 

• Rethink geographic boundaries—Before the world went remote, most professionals’ standard networking impulse was to focus on the people around them. Now those boundaries have receded, and as we’ve shifted to virtual cocktail gatherings, we’ve realized that we’re free to invite people from around the world with whom we wouldn’t have previously been able to connect. 

• Invite senior leaders to your online working group meetings—The current crisis has raised a host of new issues for business leaders to consider, whether it’s the future of your industry or how your company is responding to particular challenges. This presents an opportunity to proactively convene an informal working group to discuss these issues. In some corporate cultures, you can simply invite a few people and have it grow from there. In others, it may be important to check in with your manager first. Read the full story.

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