In this new age, we are all having to get out of our comfort zones to embrace what networking looks like now. Yes, we all love meeting up in person but virtual networking has it’s benefit and can truly be a game changer for any person in tech. Check out a few tips we have picked up during this current season.
Create your networking bucket list
Are there some people you have always wanted to connect with, but never had time, or they are in a different city? Now is the time! Sit down, relax your mind, and begin crafting a list of people you would love to meet up with. It could be a company leader, former colleague, favorite entrepreneur, tech guru, or friend of a friend. Of course, some will be easier to connect with than others, so make sure to note where you have a warm lead to help in your initial connection point.
Follow The Hashtags
Hashtags are becoming everyone’s gateway to connecting over similar interests, hobbies and work. Social media can catch you in a bad game of scrolling for hours but you can also discover a network of people thinking and moving just like you. Start by sharing a relevant piece of content using hashtag focused on your interest(s) or just a quick intro of yourself using the specific hashtag, where you are looking to meet people. Simple enough. Some of the hashtags we are digging right now, #blacktechtwitter #100daysofcode #diversifytech #pocit
Groups on groups on groups
Groups have always been a way for people who share common interests to connect. This still rings true in the virtual world and provides an opportunity for meeting new people, professional development and gaining insight into industry news. There are mainstay groups you can find via LinkedIn, Facebook and Meetup. There are also thousands of independent/newly formed masterminds, business groups and associations that are pouring a lot into their virtual groups, right now. Like QuarantineCon, Latinas In Tech and may others, you can seek out through a traditional Google search or following industry specific hashtags.
Make it official
So, you are out and about following hashtags, meeting people, and living your best virtual life. Start to make it official by seeing if some of the techies you connect with are interested in meeting up via Zoom, Google Meet, or Houseparty (depending on how you feel:). You can still make it a coffee or even happy hour, where each of you brings your favorite drink of choice. This will allow for you to kickstart your day or whine down over new and fun conversations.
Make it real
The word authentic is communicated a lot as we all seek to find purpose in everything we do. This should also be the case for how you approach your work relationships. Once you have a made a connection through social media, a group or other online source, make sure to nurture it. It is one thing to meet a person once, it is another to build a connection that can last for years to come. Check-in with new contacts via email or give them a call (phone calls are a thing, again). Follow up to see if you can schedule another virtual coffee date or happy hour. Remember, people are seeking the same relationship building you are, and doing it virtually allows for ease in taking the first and second steps. You got this.