Who is ready to network in person again? I know most of us have had many virtual meetings over the last couple of years. We attempted to go in-person networking last year and had to move back to just the virtual world. Now we are networking in person again!
Since March of 2020, the “cheese” moved to the virtual world when it came to networking and meeting others. Some in-person events were held and they were few and far between. For over a year there were virtually (no pun intended) no in-person events. Many asked during this time what can be done to network as the in-person events stopped. January 6, 2021, Wednesday Wisdom weekly networking was born running every week at 11:00 am as we entered the mid-point of our week. Thanks to so many supporters and suggestions, we learned to connect virtually and build on these relationships.
Wednesday Wisdom Goes In-Person 1.0
On August 4th, 2021, Wednesday Wisdom held the first in-person event with 31 in attendance on a beautiful sunny day at the Greenlawn Memorial patio. Many had not met in person and some had never networked. It is self-rewarding to help others embrace the concept of networking and build their connections. The conversations were engaging and most did not want to end the event when it was time to leave. Conversations continued into the parking lot and everyone mentioned they look forward to the next one.
Wednesday Wisdom had the final virtual meeting on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 until things locked down and we went virtual again! This resulted in a transition to in-person networking on the first Wednesday of the month from virtual weekly meetings. When tighter pandemic restrictions were back, Wednesday Wisdom quickly resumed weekly virtual meetings. This brought us to March 2022 when we moved back to in-person networking 2.0 and we have been meeting monthly ever since at different venues. It is great to see the number of attendees going up and we have over 60 out at events again! Thank you for all your support.
We might need a refresher in networking at events and remember to keep practicing social distance. I have not figured out how to have a beverage if you are wearing a mask; please share if you have! Greet the person by saying hello, make eye contact, skip the handshake, and do the fist or elbow pump which seems to be acceptable in social settings. Ask for their name and to share their story, share your name and then share your story. Be genuine, listen effectively, ask questions and make it about them. It is not about you. Yes, make it about them. Practice this by really listening, asking questions, and repeating what they said to show you understand. Build the relationship first and when the time is right you can move into the selling part of the relationship.
Resumes & Brochures
I have been asked this many times by attendees at networking events if it is appropriate to bring resumes. My simple answer is no. If you hand me your resume, where can I put it while I’m standing juggling a beverage and handing you my business card? I do not want to fold it or get it wrinkled or dirty. You can ask if the person is aware of their organization’s hiring and for what position or share your career path to see if the company is a good fit to consider. Ask who you can send the resume to. Move the conversation back to them once you have shared your story. The same thing applies to brochures and corporate folders. It is difficult to review these on the spot and to keep them neat and clean. Ask if you can e-mail the information or better yet, set up an intro meeting whether it is a phone call, in-person if it is in a safe setting or a virtual meeting.
Let’s Network Again!
Can you tell I’m excited to be networking in person? If we are all aware of the venue, the protocols and follow the rules, together we can network in person in a healthy and safe way. There are other networking events happening in person and certainly hope this will continue as we enter the Networking 2.0 world together. What networking events are you attending virtually or in person?