I love giving talks on Networking and last week, I gave one on Networking in Covid Times to a women’s group in a large bank. I’ve heard people say it’s not easy to network these days and I understand, networking is certainly different. 

Most people are working from home and whilst there are challenges, there are opportunities too.

Some of the challenges include less work-home separation. In the past, you might have finished work, attended a networking event, and then gone home. It may feel harder to attend networking events online as you finish work and want to get back to your family or just want to get off your computer.

There are far fewer in-person events than before so you may feel there’s not as much choice even if they are online. There’s also Zoom fatigue since we spend significant amounts of time at our desks so I sometimes hear people not wanting to network online either. 

People tell me they miss the informal networking opportunities, like chit-chat at the coffee machine, meeting someone from another department for lunch, or the small talk whilst people arrive at meetings.

However, there are also opportunities. Networking can be very efficient since there’s no travelling involved and you can meet with people from all over the world. Recently someone from Singapore attended my Toastmasters meeting, something that would not have been possible before we going online. I’ve also heard that people may be more available than they used to be so it’s worth reaching out to people that might previously have been too busy. It’s a really good chance to stay in touch with existing relationships too, have virtual coffees, lunches or aperos. 

How do you see Networking in Covid Times? As a challenge or an opportunity?