Last year, we wrote several articles on networking:
- Two articles focused on the “How” of networking remotely, covering both one on one networking and virtual networking events (October and November 2020).
- December 2020s article, Activate Your Network in 2021, stressed being playful, and purposeful about building your network. It provided a number of questions to help you hone in on what you want to accomplish from both your internal and external network.
This month, as we continue to move around the Professional Growth Wheel, we land on the
topic of Network Expansion.
What a difference a few months have made! Thankfully, we are seeing good progress as we emerge from the pandemic. Things are opening-up and some organizations are even beginning to return to the office. We love the idea of networking in person again, but we do believe that while the work world will remain a hybrid of working in the office and working remotely, so will networking. Initially, we think people will crave that personal connection and will want to network in person once again. But we think they will also value the ease of being able to connect with others without a long commute and wasted travel time by networking remotely.
Hopefully, this pandemic has taught us that the world is a much smaller place than we thought previously. We believed networking was constrained by where you lived. COVID changed that perspective for all of us, and we think for the better. Thanks to technology we can easily connect with others around the region, country and the globe. Did you take advantage of that outreach during the pandemic?
Now is the time to think about building a bigger, better network outside the confines of geography. LinkedIn has helped us start to reach out to those a bit more far-flung, but now there are new networking platforms that are taking it to the next level.
- Lunchclub.com is one.
This platform uses very sophisticated AI to connect you with individuals who are mutually relevant. Just enter a bit of information about your background, goals and areas of interest and voilà!
The computer matches you with someone and sets up a 45-minute one on one Zoom conversation.
Start-ups are using these platforms to find funders; individuals are using them in their job search; and companies are even using them to find talent. People are also using these platforms to brainstorm issues and get advice. For example, maybe you have been tasked to identify and implement a new HRIS system for your company. There are so many vendors to research and hundreds of articles to read to become knowledgeable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to talk to someone who faced a similar challenge, and who could provide real world advice – and get the computer to do the leg work?
The world of networking is changing, and, thanks to the pandemic, it is happening at a rapid rate. We challenge you to take advantage of these advances to grow your network in meaningful ways and expand your reach. Be bold, and don’t let where you live limit your options for building a bigger, better network.