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Finding yourself networking online more? Preparing yourself for more of it in the future? Our Founder & Managing Director, Bradley Hatchett, shares his views on how you can get the most out of each session and make it an effective use of your time…

Do you wish you’d invested in share of Zoom earlier this year? Me too.

The Covid lockdown has not only left us rueing that missed opportunity. But also having to adopt new networking methods online.

Like face to face networking, there are in fact many things you can do to prepare and make these events most effective for you. Also like face to face networking, our advice to members is very similar.

We threw ourselves into adapting to online networking from the outset of lockdown. We’ve learned a lot. Seen the good and bad when it comes to approaching online networking.

I’m now here to help you avoid the bad. By reading this you’re already ahead of the game. So here are my tips on how to get the most out of your online networking:

Arrive prepared

Much like a normal networking event. The value in what you do before and after is arguably more important than actually turning up.

What can you do to prepare in advance:

  • Be on time – if the organiser doesn’t send out a reminder or calendar request, make a reminder yourself. We encourage attendees to arrive 5-10 minutes before our meetups and encourage you to make this a habit.
  • Pen and paper at the ready – unlike at a usual networking event, you can have an online conversation in a group and take notes on interesting or relevant parts where you could help, find out more information and follow up more personally.
  • Connect up with other attendees – A good networking event organiser (us) will share a delegate list in advance. We do this the day prior. Research that list. Add people on LinkedIn. Let them know you’re going to be there. For our meetups on Remo, you can even use it as a chance to arrange a time to meet on a table in the event. LinkedIn is our recommendation, a Facebook friend request might be a bit strong…

Become familiar with the software and functionality

We use Zoom and Remo. But there are many pieces of software and programmes emerging and being used.

If the organiser doesn’t (we do) send out an information email in advance to help you prepare and ensure you’re set up correctly, take the time yourself to understand how it works.

This will save you time and the inconvenience of trying to work it out at the start of the meetup. Your fellow attendees will be very appreciative too.

Be present

Turn off notifications on phone and laptop. Or even better, put your phone away somewhere.

Allow yourself to be fully focused throughout the entire meetup. You may think that you can multitask when on a video call or virtual, but it certainly doesn’t look it.

Book the time out in your diary like any other event or meeting. Avoid distractions and optimise your (and other attendees’) time taken to be an active and engaged part of the call.

Opportunity to learn

Approach online events (and any event) as an opportunity to fine tune your business pitch. Your personal introduction. Make it as clear and concise as possible.

With glaring eyes on you, you’ll quickly establish who is engaged and who is not. Do this in your preparation, but if it doesn’t go exactly how you wanted, review it, learn from it and improve it for next time.

Use the meetup to learn about others. Find out something interesting about others attending and their businesses. When you next meet in person, you’ll be able to refer to these times having built a better understanding and personal relationship with someone.

Have these questions up your sleeve

Conversation starters when networking online are more difficult to come by compared to an in person event.

Have there thought provoking and conversation stimulating questions up your sleeve.

Put these tips into action. Join us at an upcoming online meetup or start your 14 day free online membership trial now!

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