Home Social networking A basic 5-point guide to networking in a hybrid world

A basic 5-point guide to networking in a hybrid world

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The business world as we knew it changed overnight in early 2020 when the pandemic forced many companies to switch to a remote working model. I had just moved temporarily to the Bay Area to be closer to our network and three weeks later, this adventure ended!

But, as things start to open up, it’s time for employees to dust off their professional attire and work their way into the networking game to regain the in-person connections we’ve lost, all the while continuing to foster connections virtually. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Think about it for a minute: how have you networked over the past year? Did you use the zoom? Did it work? Did this ever seem normal to you? Now think about the few steps you’ve taken to make connections in person – did you pick it up right away? Or did it feel a little exhausting?

We need to exercise certain muscles that we haven’t used in a while: the ability to walk across a room, to make eye contact for a few minutes, to watch non-verbal queues in person, to ask questions. and continue the conversation. And like most workplaces, we always do it in a hybrid fashion – not everyone is entirely comfortable coming back to a room full of strangers, and that’s perfectly fine. The transition isn’t meant to happen overnight, and there are still ways to successfully connect that aren’t in person.

To network, whether in person or virtually, it’s important for people to understand how the challenges of the past year and a half have changed the world of networking, but also to brush up on skills that have likely gathered dust. Whether face-to-face or virtually, here are five tips to get you started on the road to success:

Ignoring the stigma associated with networking

Commit to changing your mindset about networking. Don’t see this as a job, but as an opportunity to meet new people and learn their stories. Do you know how many interesting people there are? This is your chance to find them. Be excited about the prospect of this. And while networking doesn’t necessarily expand your social circle when it comes to personal relationships, try to see it in a new light. Networking isn’t about getting together in a conference room with a sad mat to hand out your business cards. It’s about making friends with people who have the same professional interests as you.

Don’t force it

It’s important to make new connections to increase your network, but it’s 100% okay not to click with someone you initially thought you had. A lot of people feel the need to force a connection, but if that isn’t right for you, just move on. There are plenty of other people in the world who are equally successful in similar roles.

It’s a two-way street

While you can leverage your network to advance in your career, you also need to make sure you offer support in return. Ask your network how you can help. Networking is a balance between giving and receiving and personally I like to offer two “offers” for each “request”. East Is there an introduction you could give them? Content in which they might appear in your business? Promote something they posted on LinkedIn? Make yourself the support you receive. It shows that you are actively engaged and that you are not just connected with them to improve yourself.

Prepare as best you can

It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you can, make sure you know who you’re talking to and the company they represent. In some cases this will be difficult, especially if it is a big event, but do your best. Take a few extra minutes to familiarize yourself with industry trends or recent industry news. Come up with a list of a few questions you can turn to if you need a conversation starter or if the conversation isn’t going as smoothly as you thought it would help the conversation flow and remember it. it’s always better to be over-prepared than to scramble to make conversation. I’ve always found it helpful to attend an event with an idea of ​​how many people you want to connect with. Set a goal: is it a new person, two, 10? Once you hit that number you can get out of there or continue, but it gives you something to work on. Oh, and guess what, it’s okay if it’s not all about work and business! People like to talk about themselves. Ask them where they went to college or where their first post-pandemic trip was.

Engage your existing network

While it can be exciting to think about the next opportunity coming from someone you are about to meet, it is also essential to engage and connect with your existing network. Once you have connections in your circle, create a plan for how often you will engage with them to foster an even stronger bond. You can’t expect to contact someone once every six months with a new request every time. Comment on their latest LinkedIn post or job promotion post, offer to buy them a cup of coffee, or send them a handwritten note (instead of an email) just to say hello.

Final thoughts

As we continue to network in a hybrid world, remember to focus on quality over quantity, understand your “why” for building your network, and most importantly, be yourself. Don’t put on a show hoping to impress the person you’re talking to because I bet they can see it. A few years ago, my manager had me sign a sign for my office that read: “Authenticity is Magnetic”. I really believe that when approaching anything it is important to show that you are human because guess what, you are talking to other humans!

When you’re ready, feel empowered to take networking by storm, whether in person or virtually, and follow the five steps above to better align yourself for success in this post-pandemic world of networking.

(One more tip: be patient with yourself. We haven’t done this in a while, and it’s hard to get back there. It’s going to be awkward at first – kiss it and try to remember it. , everyone feels it too.)


VSasey renner is partner of Open view, a growing venture capital firm. She leads end-to-end strategy and programming for OpenView’s network of experts, advisors and partner companies. His role is focused on creating the connections between the founders and their teams and the partners, advisors, board members and events they need to achieve their goals.


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