October 13, 2023

LeadershipProfessional Development

Networking in a Remote World: Navigating Connections from Afar

By: Remso Martinez

The world is bigger and for many working professionals that is daunting. We find ourselves grappling with a peculiar problem as a result of building so many of our relationships online too, especially post-lockdowns: How do we forge genuine connections in a remote world? 

Networking was once all about those chance coffee machine conversations or the informal chitchats at industry events. If you’re like me, you probably went for the free food and alcohol. But, as many of us have traded office spaces for the corners of our homes, those serendipitous interactions are fewer and farther between. The challenge now? Reimagining networking in the digital realm without losing that personal touch. 

Embrace the Digital, but Stay Genuine 

Platforms like LinkedIn, X, and even Instagram have made it easier to connect with industry peers. Yet, a word of caution: While it’s tempting to maximize those connections, focus on quality, not quantity. Remember, it’s not about how many professionals you connect with, but how meaningful those connections are. 

Instead of the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” (Yawn, right?), personalize your requests. Share why you’re interested in connecting, perhaps referencing a recent article or post they shared. Authenticity, even in the digital sphere, speaks volumes. 

Virtual Events: The New Networking Frontier 

Miss those industry events and conferences? They’re still around, just with a digital twist. Webinars, virtual conferences, and online workshops offer more than just learning opportunities. They’re the new networking hotspots. 

A tip from my own experience? Engage actively. Pose questions, participate in discussions, or simply comment appreciating a point. It not only increases visibility but also sets the stage for post-event follow-ups. A simple, “Hey, I enjoyed your perspective during the webinar!” can go a long way. 

Co-Working & Collaboration 

We’re all familiar with co-working spaces, but have you tried virtual coworking? Platforms that allow professionals to work side by side, virtually, are rising. It’s the digital version of sharing a table at a café, minus the background chatter of coffee machines. 

Moreover, don’t shy away from collaborations. Partnering on projects or even co-authoring pieces not only broadens your professional horizons but also introduces you to your collaborator’s network.

Engage Beyond Work 

All work and no play, well, you know how that goes. Virtual coffee breaks, online game nights, or simply setting aside time for non-work chats can nurture relationships. 

Remote doesn’t mean distant. It’s a chance to know the person behind the professional, creating bonds stronger than mere LinkedIn endorsements. 

Nurture & Follow-Up 

Networking isn’t a one-off task. It’s an ongoing process. Engage with posts, send articles you think might be of interest, or just drop a message checking in. Small gestures can fortify relationships in big ways. 

To wrap things up, in this remote world, networking might look a little different, but its essence remains unchanged. It’s about building genuine connections. With a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of authenticity, networking from afar can be just as impactful, if not more. So, next time you come across an online workshop or an interesting profile, remember: the digital realm holds opportunities aplenty, waiting to be unearthed.