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  • Writer's pictureJoyce Strimple

Coog Connection - Networking in 2021

Networking in 2021

January 7, 2021 Networking is a tremendous way to create dynamic relationships, drive new revenue via referrals and alone is responsible for filling as many as 85% of all jobs. With that in mind, it’s no surprise why those in the workforce – or trying to enter the workforce – are interested in learning the do’s and don’ts of the process. But, the act of networking has evolved in 2020 with the implementation of virtual events. So, while elements like a strong handshake or professional clothing shouldn’t be forgotten, they just aren’t a top priority in networking at the moment. If you’re navigating the new standards of networking, remember to avoid these cringe-worthy mistakes.

You only network when you NEED to When networking, what you put in is what you get out, meaning if you actively take the steps to connect with others, you will reap the benefits. However, it’s important to note you don’t have to wait for the need to network. Even if you aren’t currently in the market for a career change or you don’t have a specific professional need at the moment, you can still build relationships and keep contacts in mind for the future. Plus, networking isn’t one sided, so don’t wait for people to approach you to make a connection. Instead, put yourself out there, find a networking group and get started!

Whoops! You forgot to turn off your camera As Zoom calls and digital meetings continue to be the gold standard of communication, it can be easy to forget there are real people on the other end. I’m sure we’ve all seen clips of those who unfortunately forget to turn off their camera before using the bathroom or those who aren’t muted before crunching loudly on a snack. Virtual meeting etiquette is real, and it’s something to be studied. It’s also helpful to pretend you’re at an in-person meeting; get dressed, eliminate distractions and always remember to check if your camera and microphone are on the setting you want them to be.

You only see value in new connections Making a new connection and growing your network is great; it’s probably the reason you’re attending a networking group in the first place. I encourage you to make new connections, but I also caution you to not neglect the relationships you have already built. Even if you and another professional can’t be of help to each other now, you never know where an opportunity in the future might come from. At Network In Action, we believe a mix of technology and face-to-face networking will help your business grow. With meeting restrictions due to the pandemic, we’ve relied heavily on our website and smartphone app our group members can use to pass and track referrals with ease. They can also start discussions, post status updates, videos, announcements, pictures and much more, helping them maintain connections as well as expand their network. This year will be packed with adaptation, and networking is no different. However, the basic elements of networking – connection, professionalism, reciprocity, and relationship-building – will always be at the forefront of the industry.

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