So we’re 8 weeks into Coronavirus lockdown, and most of us have got to grips with Zoom and this idea that we can network virtually.
But, are we doing it right? Do we care? Why are we doing it? And are we making the most of it?
Just as with face to face networking, people will form an opinion upon meeting you for the first time. So, with that in mind, ask yourself these questions: What does the background for your call look like? Do you arrive to the meeting on time, do you leave early? I will address all of these areas and what I would suggest is best practice as we go through this blog.
First of all, virtual networking can be a fantastic tool for you and your business. There are however a few key points to maximise what you get from it.
Before the call
Why are you doing it? – If it is for business development then the next point applies. However, you may be doing it for social/mental health reasons, in which case skip the next point.
Is the event likely to have the right people on the call? Some events are limited to certain industries, others are open to any business. Once you have identified why you’re attending the networking event – be that to speak to new prospects, to expand your referrer network or just meet other business people – you could contact the organiser to see if your target audience is likely to be represented.
Prepare for the meeting. Review the guest list if you get one in advance and connect to people on Linkedin. Make sure you are ready to join the call on time. I suggest you join 5 minutes before it is due to start. This will also give you the opportunity to test your microphone and sound to ensure there aren’t any technical hiccups.
What are you going to say? I even bore myself going on about this so much but have a planned 30 or 60 second pitch. Start with a hook, what you do and end with who you are and an ask.
During the call
What do you and your background say about you? It’s fine not to be in your smartest clothes but have you brushed your hair, is there clutter behind you in your screen? Consider what impression your ‘frame’ is likely to give to others on the call.
The same applies to face to face networking, be interested and interesting. How can you help others – it’s the old BNI analogy of giver’s gain!
Use the mute function to block out any background noise of pets, children or the doorbell going off, whilst the speaker or facilitator are speaking.
Common courtesy applies during virtual meetings. Don’t interrupt other people, and if you have to leave the call early let the organiser know via the chat function.
After the call
Have you set aside time to follow up with everyone? Share the event on social media, making sure you tag those you’ve spoken to. This will benefit the event organiser and you as you post will be seen by a wider audience.
Hold 121 calls with other attendees who you have something in common with. Experts say that you need ’20 touches’ for someone to know, trust and like you which is part of the buying process.
Assess if the event was worthwhile. If yes, then book in to do again. If not, find something else.
I hope the above check list is helpful to you and if you have suggestions of steps that I have missed, please get in touch!
If you would like help working out who your target audience is or how to reach them you can contact the team at Consortium – more than marketing on 01903 530787 or email Lara direct firstname.lastname@example.org