Want to hear something funny? At the end of February, I was about to publish my latest book. Can you guess the topic? It was about networking. You know, going to networking events, what to wear, who to talk to, and what you needed to take, how to shake hands… Not how to network from home. So, no, I haven’t published it.
I’ll either wait until networking events are a thing once again, which could be longer than a lot of people think, like never. Or rewrite it as a virtual networking book, How to Network from Home. It’s more likely I’ll rewrite the book. With a rewrite in mind, I’ve been researching, practicing, and looking for ways to network online. Here’s what I’ve found on how to network from home, so far. If you’ve used other methods and apps please share with me what you’ve learned.
In the last two weeks, I’ve been in several meetings using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Meetings, FaceTime, and WebEx. I’ve attended, as well as hosted virtual gatherings. Yesterday, I gave a leadership meeting to a company in Prescott, AZ, Adventure Auto Glass. Before the meeting, I asked for their management challenges, and we discussed actions they could take to meet those challenges. BTW, if you’re interested in a free leadership video conference, contact me. I need the practice.
The leadership development company, Abilitie reached out to me, and we recorded a 30-minute podcast that will air this summer. I hope to make new connections from this. It was a good experience because creating a leadership podcast of my own is on my to-do list. If you’d like to be part of my future podcast, let me know.
I can’t tell you how many friends and connections I’ve made on Twitter chats, especially #DigiBlogChat, hosted by @Carol Stephen and Larry Mount. This group has helped me solve problems, promoted my business and books, and opened my mind to new possibilities; besides, they tolerate my skewered sense of humor, Sorry Larry, I mean sense of humour. Where can you start Twitter chatting? Join us any Tuesday at 4:00 EST!
Networking Groups Gone Virtual
Several years ago, I was part of a group of friends that almost organically became a networking group. The sole purpose of the group, called Friend Up, was to help each other. We’d meet once a month over dinner and drinks and brainstorm how we could assist one another. Eventually, a second monthly meeting was added as a brunch. We haven’t met face-to-face for more than 45 days. However, we have met.
We’ve held two meetings, one using Zoom another with Google Meetings. We’ve scheduled a third meeting for Saturday. Not only have we been able to help one another, offer advice, and just listen, but we’ve also been able to include friends who have moved away.
We’ve networked with friends from Colorado, Florida, and Michigan. The video meeting also has opened the door to the inclusion of friends who haven’t been able to meet face-to-face for various reasons. A monthly virtual Friend Up will continue to be part of what our group does long after the quarantine. Friend up: Randy Clark at TEDxFortWayne
One of the best strategies I know for effective networking is to meet one-on-one, often over coffee. Over the years, there have been too many networking events where I gathered cards and did little with them. Only when I’d connect with someone after an event, invite them to coffee, and ask how I could help them, did I truly make a connection. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve chatted with several friends using Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. If you’d like to Hangout – just let me know. We can Zoom right to it.
As Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb said, it shouldn’t be called social distancing. It should be called physical distancing. I couldn’t agree more. We may need to meet over coffee more now than ever before – even if it’s virtual, not the coffee, the coffee must be real. I’m on my fifth cup of the day. If you’d like to meet for coffee, please reach out to me. I like coffee.
How Can I Help You?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.