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In our modern world, networking is different than ever before. Many people are working from home or remote locations because it is less expensive and more convenient for the type of work that they need to get done. This is also a big way for companies to entice the right people to work with them.
Because so many people are not coming to the office all the time, the way that we network is changing too. You need to find new and exciting ways to network and meet with other people, and doing it in a virtual manner is an effective way to make this work.
There are countless ways that you can meet with others virtually. And when it is done well, it can be even more effective than meeting others in-person like in the past. However, you need to do it in the right way. Avoiding some of the common virtual networking mistakes is one of the best ways to be as effective and fruitful when it comes to some of the people you can meet while expanding your network from anywhere. Some of the top virtual networking mistakes that you need to avoid include:
Being Unprofessional Because You are At Home
Since you work at home all day, it is easy to get a little lack about your appearance and how you portray yourself. You may sit behind a computer and have no one see you all day long so you will be comfortable and not look at professional. This has to change if you are doing an interview or another type of meet and great where others can see you.
Don’t let the unprofessionalism take over when you do Skype or Zoom. Pretend that you are in the office. Check that the volume and the lighting look good before you even try to begin and be aware of some of the background that is behind you. Clean up the area around you, or the whole office preferably, to ensure that no one is going to see a big mess when they look at the screen.
The outfit that you wear is going to be important too. You need to take off the sweatpants and bad shirts that you are wearing and put on something professional. It is fine if you dress down to do your work most of the time since no one is going to see you. But with a networking event, others will see you, and you need to make sure they are impressed. In networking, first impressions are going to be a big deal so make sure you dress up like you are showing up to the office for those video calls.
Before any meeting, take the time to look around the room. Notice if there is any mess behind you that you need to worry about. It is best to clean up the whole room if possible just in case you need to move the computer screen around at all. Look for anything that is embarrassing, unprofessional, or just a big mess. If you are short on time, then you can consider just cleaning up the area that is immediately around you and then be careful not to move around a lot while you are talking to some of your contacts.
Then it is time to move on to some of the clothes that you wear. It may be acceptable to show up in your pajamas when you work remotely, but this is not going to look good for some of your contacts when networking. Bring out a nice shirt and pants and look like you are going to an interview along the way. This gives off a better impression and makes it look like you are more of a professional while you network.
Networking is Not Just About You
The next mistake that people will make with all sorts of networking, whether they are doing it in-person or virtually, is that they forget that it is not just about them. Networking is something that needs to prove beneficial to both parties and not just to you. The second that it becomes all about you is the second that contact is going to lose interest and will decide not to work with you on it at all.
This is a new relationship that needs to be beneficial to both parties. It is easy to get caught up a bit in the self-promotion, which makes it easy to forget all about the true meaning of networking. In networking, you want to focus on helping one another out. But it is easy to forget this, which makes it harder to form some of the long lasting connections that you want along the way.
Forgetting Your Existing Contacts
It is exciting when it comes to networking to see how many people you can gather up into the network that you want to form. You want to meet new people, make some new connections, and see how all of this can go. And that is an admirable trait to have. But you need to remember some of your current contacts as well, or you may find that your list gets smaller and smaller all the time.