Networking is just as important as it has always been for small business owners, but like many things today, we are learning new ways to do it and do it well. With many networking events going virtual, everything from how you exchange contact information to topics for conversation has changed in our social distancing circumstances.

Here are tips to help you make the most of these opportunities to connect and reconnect virtually.

Be Prepared
Write your personal introduction before the event, and be sure it adheres to time limits. It can be harder for some people to speak off the cuff when they are talking to a screen.
You also want to be an active listener when others are speaking, and not be thinking about your remarks.

Networking contacts should be aware of the ongoing status of your business. Time permitting, include information about when you are open and how you interact with customers.

Set the Stage
Find a place where you won’t be interrupted during the event, be sure your background is appealing, and mute your phone. Dress as you would for an in-person event.

Have a Positive Mindset
Use your online networking chats to celebrate successes, offer recommendations and provide introductions. In these times it’s not always easy to be positive, but you’ll keep networking chats on a productive track if you avoid talking about discouraging issues. If you’re sharing information about the pandemic, stick to the facts and avoid expressing opinions.

Exchange Contact Information
Ideally the networking event organizer will distribute a list of event participants with contact information. If you don’t receive a list of participants, reach out to the organizer to see if a list will be provided after the event. Depending on the conference platform, you may be able to send a private chat message to an individual, offering your contact details and inviting them to connect at a future date.

Follow Up
Send out a one-pager about your business to targeted event attendees following the call. Include a personal note demonstrating your interest in what they shared during the event.

If you would like a complimentary coaching session during this pandemic or you have any questions about this blog, please send me an email.

About the author,

As an ActionCOACH Business Coach from Chicago North Shore, I understand that time is your most valuable asset. Now, I can help you recreate your dreams and vision…and accomplish the goals you first set out to achieve with your business. Ultimately, you will experience a better quality of life because of your commitment to invest in yourself with the help of an ActionCOACH Business Coach and personal mentor.

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