Member-Driven Business Networking
Post-COVID Tips for Successful Networkers
By Lauren Banyar Reich
Lauren Banyar Reich – LBRPR
Networking will not be going back to normal anytime soon. In fact, it’s likely that networking may never return to what it was pre-pandemic, for better or for worse. So as well all stare down “re-entry,” what are the new things that successful networkers will need to be thinking about?
• COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Verification: Whether you are flying internationally or simply crossing state lines to see a client or prospect, travel restrictions will likely be in place for the foreseeable future. What’s more, the individual or company you are meeting with may also have company-wide policies or individual comfort levels with both testing and vaccine verification that should be discussed and understood before you arrive for the meeting. Open up the conversations early and be sure that you are clear on what documentation or regulation might apply if you are travelling outside of your home city and state.
• BYO PPE: Having masks, sanitizer and even your own water bottle on hand will ensure that you are always prepared for any situation. Don’t depend on the organizer, company or individual you are meeting with to provide PPE for you.
• Get Digital: Like handshakes, the future of the business card may be in question. It might be a while before we get back to passing business cards with abandon, so check out virtual business card options from HiHello, TapTok, and others so you can network digitally with a snap or a click.
• Go Virtual: No, we’re not talking about Zoom! Since the pandemic, people are turning to new digital platforms like Clubhouse where brands and business leaders are creating entirely virtual thought leadership networks. This audio-only platform has been hailed as “the new LinkedIn” by some, and has its own set of terminology and etiquette. While still in beta and currently only available to iPhone users, it could be just the platform to lurk and learn on while still working from home. Just like any new platform, it can be intimidating, but there’s no time like the present to try it out!
There’s been a sea change in how successful networking can happen. But, with a little proactive planning and by leaning into new technology it’s very possible that we’ll all come out the other side of the pandemic with new best practices and even more ways to engage and grow business relationships.
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