Staying Connected in a Virtual World

Member Blog Contributed by Chamber Member Liz Hatcher, Founder of Women to Women Network

So, in case you hadn’t noticed, Zoom has thoroughly infiltrated the business world, and virtual networking has taken over this spring! In just a few short weeks, we’ve become familiar with terms like Zoom bombing and Zoom fatigue (are you feeling it?), and you’ve probably laughed at some funny Zoom bloopers. Hilarious faux pas aside, Zoom and other tools like Microsoft Meetings and Google Hangouts have become vital to how we are doing business now.

But what about networking? Is virtual networking possible? Well, based on the events we’ve been holding and the events many of you have been attending, the answer is a resounding yes! And, the “rules of engagement” are really no different.

Virtual networking was the topic of our virtual May Coffee & Conversation, when master networker Stephanie Arnheim of Stephanie Connects, shared some great tips and advice for networking in a virtual world that are just a little different than networking in the physical world. It all boils down to asking questions, taking the time to get to know someone, finding common ground – interests, clients, business needs, how you can help each other, etc.

Here are some of Stephanie’s top “get to know you” questions to help you network like a pro:

What brought you here today?

What do you like best about what you do?

Share a recent success story.

What do you like best about this group?

Describe your ideal client.

Who is a good connection for you?

You’re probably realizing how simple these questions are. No brainers when you get right down to it. So why do we get shy about talking to new people when we go to a networking event? The size of the crowd shouldn’t matter, and it doesn’t matter whether you are online or not, the same conversations apply.

If crowds do set your nerves a flutter, though, Stephanie suggests taking a wing-man (or woman!). In fact, she often goes to events with people for just this purpose. Large gatherings can be a little off-putting, we get it, so take a friend or an associate and work the room together (even if it’s a Zoom room!). And remember, you don’t need to meet everyone at the meeting; your goal is to make some new connections with people you haven’t met before.

Want to know the most critical part? Follow-up.

Virtual world or real world, follow-up is the secret sauce. Connect on social media, send a quick email, and set up a time to get to know your new contact. Zoom Chats are great for this! Nothing beats a coffee shop for meeting people, but Zoom is super-efficient. The bottom line is to start building that relationship – you never know what resources and broader network you will tap into.

About Women To Women Network (WtoWN): Women to Women Network is a community of women in business dedicated to building strong connections, referral partners, and friendships. Through a variety of events and social media, WtoWN provides a forum for networking, mentoring, and collaboration.   For more information visit: www.wtownetwork.com

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