I have always been a serial networker and would like nothing more than meeting new people at a networking event, introducing myself and finding out about them and their business.
But the outbreak of COVID-19 changed all that, and the face-to-face element of networking events had stopped. There have been many events over the last twelve months that have tried to run things virtually, but a Zoom or Teams get together with more than a handful of people is not easy to handle, or indeed to participate in.
Now we are nearing the stage of the lock down restrictions being lifted, are you ready to get back into the great big world and network again?
For me, it will take some time to get back to where we were in 2019, and the way these events are run must change.
I have, as many, embraced the use of social media, not just to get a message out but also to really connect and collaborate with more people. By having plenty to say, it is easy to engage with people and get their interaction. And the key to all social media is interaction. Ask questions and start a conversation, exactly as you would do at a networking event. Don’t just like or reshare, comment and voice your opinion.
Many people will continue to work from home, so it is even more important for their employers, employees, and co-workers to keep them connected and engaged. It is very easy to become isolated and see nothing but work as your role.
Making sure that home working really works for all will be a key part of working conditions going forward, and legislation will catch up.
The way events happen in the future will change, and the way people interact at those events, will also change. COVID will have a wide-reaching impact on so many for many years to come, from working to shopping and socialising.
I think what the last twelve months has taught us, is that if you enjoy networking and connecting with people, then you will always find a way to do this. You may need to work smarter and harder, but there is always a way to get your message out if you have drive and passion.
I very much look forward to the coming months, with a renewed sense of optimism, and look forward to catching up with the people who have always made my networking enjoyable.