It may feel overwhelming or demotivating that there are far fewer in-person opportunities to connect with new clients and associates than there used to be. This can be isolating and make it hard to get dollars in the door. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
With geographic barriers breaking down due to online work, in some ways, there are now more opportunities than ever to build valuable relationships. There are steps you can take today to be even better positioned to build partnerships and win clients via online means in 2021.
Here are the top three ways I’ve been making friends in the digital age.
More online events globally mean more speaking opportunities for those that can get them. There are hundreds of high-caliber events thirsty for speakers with topic-specific knowledge: that means you.
Why Public Speaking?
Everyone knows what kinds of events are out there, but not everyone knows how to seek events to speak at.
How do you go about getting a speaking opportunity at online events? Partner with these events to share your expertise. This DOES NOT mean paying for speaking gigs.
Workflow for Getting Speaking Opportunities
If you’re worried about public speaking, I’d tell you that online events are a great way to start breaking your fear. Instead of being on a stage in front of 30, 200, 1000 people, you can face your fears from the comfort of your desk chair and laptop. This is a low barrier to entry for those that aren’t very comfortable with public speaking.
Public speaking is extremely valuable and can be a very low effort way to build a lot of credibility in your industry. 10/10 would recommend.
More social media usage means more attention is going to blogs and social media content creation. A little time investment can lead to exponential impact (and inbound outreach from people who want to get to know you and your work). You have a lot of knowledge to share. What do people buy from you? What’s your industry? Who pays you for stuff? Write about that. Nobody pays you, okay, then what do you want to be paid for and by whom? Write about that. In school right now? Write about what you are learning, and how it can be applied.
Everyone is on social media right now. There are 3.8 billion active social media users in the world. There are more people that scroll on social media than there are those that actually produce content. Even if it might seem daunting to try to put yourself out there and create content, there are people who are seeking the knowledge you have.
In 2015 a mentor of mine told me “Your Twitter account is your resume — It’s often one of the first things people see when they Google you, and it’s your opportunity to share your expertise and make the right impression.” This was correct then (not just for Twitter, but socials in general), but it’s even more correct in 2021 and onward.
Contribute something. Don’t just scroll.
Connecting with friends of friends to get to know them, what they need, and what mutual-value can be had is my favorite tip discussed in this article. Not many people do the whole “warm networking” thing, but it’s resulted in some really awesome partnerships for myself and others I know who’ve leveraged it.
How Do You Get Warm Networking Meetings?
But what do you do once you’re in the meeting?
Generally, when I approach networking, I try to figure out what the other person needs. I don’t really go into it assuming that I’ll get anything out of the relationship. My goal is I want to get to know people, learn about cool projects, understand what they need, and see if I or anyone in my network can help. If you need something, then I’ll have my ears out for it.
Don’t be afraid to ask “What are you/your company looking for now?” or “What problems are you/your company dealing with now that you are trying to solve?”— These questions will empower you to be helpful, and uncover opportunities to collaborate.
Strive to find that mutual understanding among those in your network so you all know that you’ll keep an eye out for each other; if there’s something that you need that I can look out for you, I will and vice versa. Warm networking is not asking people for intros to sales. Networking is not sales. Sales is not networking. If it so happens that you offer something that a new connection needs, then we’ve set the stage for a sales conversation; but it’s a different conversation.
Go meet people. Go make opportunities happen. Even though you’re socially distant, you don’t have to be alone. Not being in touch with people in person does not have to be a barrier. Your device and an internet connection are all you need to get out there in 2021.
Also published at https://coalitions.medium.com/getting-out-there-in-2021-37976d12cf59