Having a strong professional network is crucial for multiple reasons. Not only can it help you find new job opportunities, but you can find mentors, good career advice, and meet people with the same mindset as you.
Here's why networking is so important, how to build effective networking events virtually, and some tips to build your network.
The importance of networking events for a successful career
Professional associations can help you with your social networking but also your career advancement with networking events curated specifically for your industry. Nowadays, there are also a lot of opportunities for virtual networking in particular. Here are some reasons why these networking events are crucial to your career success.
Not only will you be building relationships, but one of the amazing benefits of networking is that it enables you to learn new skill sets that can help you in your career path.
By participating in networking events, you'll get better networking skills of course, as well as new contacts, but you can also learn new information about the different fields you work in. For example, going to a webinar or seminar can help you network and do some small talk, but it can also help you learn more about your industry, new tools, new best practices, and more.
Finding new career opportunities
By getting new professional relationships you don't just have a new Linkedin connection, you can actually get a new job, new opportunities or contracts. Say you meet a business owner during one of those networking opportunities and a year later you're on a job search, you can connect with these people and get a new job. Maybe they are looking for a profile just like yours, or will remember you when the time is right. If you've made connections with recruiters it can be particularly useful as well as they regularly have career opportunities.
How to do a business networking event virtually?
It's no secret that the job market switched to virtual events and remote work in the last few years, and so did networking events. There are many ways to do good networking online, from social media groups, to networking events organized by your professional association.
Use the right virtual networking tool
If you're planning a virtual networking event, make sure you use a tool that enable natural discussions to occur. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Teams are built for video conferences, or meetings with co-workers, but are really not made for networking.
Remo on the other hand, enables you to freely walk from table to table, join any discussion, have small talk like you would in an in-person event.
You can even name the tables with discussion topics, industries, or use them as booths.
Features you need to improve networking and natural discussions:
- Small group discussions (Remo tables, breakout rooms)
- Virtual business cards
- Shuffle option
- Easy switch from presentation mode to networking mode
Remo has floor plans you can use already built specifically for networking events and natural conversations so it couldn’t be easier.
Whether you're an introvert or just aren't doing well at meeting anyone else than your co-workers, here are some tips to help you build a strong network:
Outside of networking events:
- Join a professional association;
- Attend virtual networking events or webinars regularly;
- Join social media groups from your industry;
- Always keep good relationships with your past jobs and contacts, you never know when you'll need referrals for your next job;
- Think about your career growth, not just your current career. For example, if you aim to be in an industry but aren't yet, get started networking in that field and show your interest.
- Participate in discussions online, on social media or forums.
During networking events:
- Present yourself well (even in virtual events, maybe don't show up in PJs);
- Open your camera, no one want to talk to a black square;
- Ask questions about the other person's career development and career successes;
- Listen to the other person, do not just brag about your own professional success;
- Ask for their contact information and add them on LinkedIn.
After the networking event:
- Keep in contact with your new connections;
- Show engagement in their social media posts;
- Don't hesitate to reach out for career advice when needed, that's what networking is for.
Now you’ve got all the tools you need to build a strong network of professionals in your field, so go out there, register to some events, get your free Remo account, and don’t forget to stay true to yourself and to have fun!