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How to Network Virtually: A Resource for Creatives

Posted: 09/10/2020 | Author: Angela Ozar for Creatives On Call

How to Network Virtually: A Resource for Creatives

Before 2020, virtual networking maybe wasn’t something that you ever considered. Now, the only option, virtual networking, is necessary due to today’s social distance culture.

Now more than ever, networking is critical for those who are unemployed as a result of COVID-19. And for creatives and freelancers whose paycheck depends on it, networking is essential to business survival. Networking shouldn’t just occur when you need a job. It should be intentional year-round. Networking is simply connecting to another human being. Isn’t that what we all need right now, connection?

We’ve put together tips and resources for creatives to make quality connection’s online. Whether you’ve been doing virtual networking for years or are new to it, here’s how to become an excellent virtual networker, and why it’s beneficial no matter your current employment status.

Benefits of virtual networking

Technically, virtual networking has existed since the dawn of the internet, so why has it taken physical meeting restrictions to open our eyes to its possibilities? Virtual networking has many benefits over traditional in-person networking. For one, connection opportunities grow. With the location barrier eliminated, your network can now cross continents when you attend online events and organizations. No need to buy a plane ticket; simply open an internet browser.

Virtual networking is also more flexible than in-person networking. Meeting in person dictates you show up at a specific location and time. With virtual networking, you save time from traveling to a physical location - no more hours sitting in traffic.

You can now meet new people at home while you’re making dinner or taking a walk. The beauty of virtual networking is it allows you to multi-task. You can double your productivity in your personal and professional life.Technology enables us to be better connected when we can’t meet physically. And when you see a person’s office, living space, or their pet on the screen, it allows you to get to know a person better personally than you could if you were at an event.

Meeting online can be just as effective as meeting in person. If you haven’t tried networking virtually yet, we’ll give you tips to get started.

How to network virtually

Turn webinars into networking opportunities

That webinar you already have on your calendar can be turned into a networking opportunity if you know how to do it right.

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself through the chat function during the webinar and afterward by connecting with attendees on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Connecting on social media is a natural segway to continue conversations and relationships.

Find the speaker on social media and ask a question before or after the event. During the webinar, post on your social media feed and use event hashtags.

Don’t miss an opportunity to network if you’re attending a webinar that’s not technically a networking event. Anything can be an opportunity to meet more people and generate professional connections.

Did you know that we have a weekly webinar? Follow us on LinkedIn to learn about our upcoming webinars and connect with our network

Attend virtual conferences

Before, when you were going to attend a conference, you would have to take time out of your busy week, and you also might have to travel to the event destination. Now, you can attend conferences more easily without additional travel and time costs.

Virtual conferences strengthen your ability to have conversations with strangers. Many virtual conference platforms have tools that will randomly pair you with someone else in the networking “room.” Whereas if you attended a conference in person, you might have lacked the courage to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.

Search for virtual conferences in your industry or something you’re interested in. We’ve listed a few resources at the bottom of this page to help you find virtual events and ask the right questions when you meet someone new.

Host a digital networking event

There’s no need to wait for an invite to an event or conference to network. Online events make it easier and more affordable to host your own!

Here’s what you do: invite 8 -10 people for optimal interaction. Include some people who don’t know each other and some that do. Use any video meeting platform. Google Hangouts or Zoom will work.

Before the event, make introductions to guests via email and include their social media profiles. During the event, have guests briefly introduce themselves and have everyone answer one specific question.

Have questions in mind ahead of time to generate conversation. Arrange it so that all guests must answer some questions, and other questions anyone who wants to speak up can respond. 

Don’t know which questions to ask? We’ve listed some questions below that are sure to get people talking at any event or in a one-on-one conversation.  

The best questions to ask when networking

To be a successful networker, stay interested! People love to talk about themselves, so be curious about their career paths, choices, passions, and personal lives.

Being genuinely interested in getting to know the person you are speaking goes a long way to build a relationship. And as the conversation wanes, remember to follow up by getting their contact information and connecting on LinkedIn!

Questions that will help you spark a conversation with anyone: 

  • What are you most excited about right now?
  • If you weren’t doing what you are doing right now, what job would you have?
  • If you were to give a TED talk, what would it be?
  • If you were to learn any new skill, what would it be?
  • What’s one book everyone should read, and why?
  • Do you have a personal motto or saying you live by?
  • What helps you recharge after a long day?
  • What’s the one productivity hack you recommend to everyone?
  • How do you start your day?
  • Who was your favorite boss, and why?
  • If you were to take a year off from work, how would you spend it?
  • What’s the best financial decision you ever made?
  • What’s one object you can’t live without?
  • What are you learning about right now?

Digital networking events and resources:

Eventbrite

Meetup 

LinkedIn

Facebook events and groups

Donut app on Slack

Creatives On Call

Local chambers

Industry/trade associations

College and Universities

6 Top-ranked online networking groups

59 Conversation starters

47 Great questions to ask at a networking event

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