August 17, 2020
Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting – Ivan Misner
One of the things that I have missed during the COVID pandemic is the ability to network face-to-face. Over the years, I made it a priority to have at least one/two networking meetings a week. Networking with folks from many different fields has provided me with multiple job offers, board opportunities, friendships, and consulting gigs. Ask almost anyone and they will likely tell you how networking landed them a job. However, building a professional network can be more than job hunting. It can also help edtech and educational leaders in their daily work.
What are your goals? Are you trying to strengthen your relationships with your colleagues? Make more connections with educators, with investors, with parents, or with or with other entrepreneurs? Find certain opportunities, perhaps getting a board position or more speaking engagements? Consider what you want from your professional relationships and connections, and think about who you know who could advise you on it or put you in touch with someone who can. These days, networking is more accessible with more online opportunities popping up each week
Start with the people you know. Think about your colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors who can help you achieve your goal or put you in touch with someone who can. Senior-level executives are more accessible now than ever before because they are working from home. A LinkedIn message or an email to an executive may be more successful now than it might have been in the past. Networking during the Corona virus pandemic may require some creativity, but people are willing and open to helping others. It doesn’t take long to build that connection. You can get a lot done in 20 minutes via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Don’t want to use a video chat? Just use the phone.
Social Media Review Speaking of social media, LinkedIn continues to be one of the best places to get started building a career-focused network. Now is a good time to review your social media profiles to ensure what people find when they look for you online is appropriate and professional. It can also be a good time to expand your skills and show off what you have to offer through online platforms. Whatever you do, make yourself stand out and use the digital platforms available to you to present yourself in new and different ways. Use this time to add to your professional portfolio and work on building professional development. This will lead to greater opportunities.
If you talk with someone on a virtual video call or attend a virtual event, follow up with those people afterward on a digital platform like LinkedIn or through email. This will help reinforce your connection. When you do decide to work on a network connection, ensure you are building real connections. Informal networking means supporting people in their personal lives consistently, not just when you need help professionally.
If you believe that collecting business cards is the extent of your networking, realize it has its limitations. There may be some short-term value, but this is rapidly lost over time. If you build ongoing relationships that help you build your business or career that change from one decade to another, from one career stage to another, then you’re building a lifelong network of people who are there to help you and you are there to help them. You should be building a network of people for your life, building connective tissues so that you have that network for many years. Part of the fabric of what has made our industry successful has been this network. I think it’s something you always maintain.
Networking, creating, and maintaining your relationships is fundamental to business success. At Advancing Global EDU, we believe in relationships that matter, networking, and success for our clients, and for educators, students and parents. Let us show you how we can help you. Contact us for a brief consultation.