Suffering from Zoom fatigue? You are not alone. Most of us have become accustomed and quite honestly, drained from virtual meetings over Zoom or Google Meet with employees or clients during this pandemic. However, for organizations that rely on face-to-face interaction in business networking meetings, the struggle is real to make the same kinds of meaningful connections we have in the past.
Today’s blog will take a closer look at where things stand in 2021 regarding networking and what many organizations have begun to rely on during these reopening months.
The Pre-Covid World of Networking
From small breakfast meetings to national conferences businesses that depend upon B2B, our business world was very matter-of-fact: meet people in person, develop relationships and create lasting connections that can help grow your business and other’s as well.
Most of us knew networking to include conferences at the local, regional, state, and national level. It was also happy hours, golfing, submitting industry papers, and awarding nominations for leaders in each industry. It was all a form of business networking.
All of that came to a screeching halt when the coronavirus pandemic caused all of us to move to a virtual online world.
Networking During Covid and Beyond
While virtual meetings held us together for a year or more, there are some ingenious ways companies and individuals alike are utilizing to compensate for this lack of in-person networking.
Sometimes setting up a virtual meeting seems like too much of a hassle, and then there is the worry of what you are wearing and what the background might look like from your home office. Many business professionals have reverted to an old favorite of just connecting through phone calls when a screen doesn’t need to be shared or a group meeting is not planned. That one-on-one connection can be just as meaningful when another business reaches out to check on progress or any number of reasons.
Tools that many businesses began relying heavily on during the pandemic are the multitudes of social media platforms. Most used LinkedIn as a way to post blogs, professional announcements, and updates on services and products. Others used TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to remain connected to their business networking groups. Employees from all levels were encouraged to share work news and projects that impacted the community.
Still other organizations decided that this was the time they would update their website and add pages such as portfolios, showcase projects, or add case studies to highlight what has been going on to both consumers and other businesses.
A hybrid version of business networking is taking shape in the past few months which includes the beginning of live conferences as well as continuing to lean on the virtual world to connect via Zoom or other platforms. Many businesses find that this not only allows them to save a little money on constant travel, but that it creates opportunities to network with a wider variety of businesses.
What ways has the pandemic caused you to change your networking plan? Tell us in the comments below or visit our Facebook page to add to the conversation.