In the post-COVID world, the nature of networking has transformed. The world has been forced to go digital to meet new people, and we are all learning how to network effectively online.
In many ways, networking has become easier. Instead of needing to be in the same city, and commute to an office or café, now you can meet with anyone in the world with a phone, laptop and wifi.
Here are three tips for improving your networking skills when using Zoom or other video conference call platforms:
Research before the meeting
Doing your research before a networking event is crucial. it is now far easier to do some quick research opportunities, with many networking events planned ahead, and takes place on your computer or smartphone.
Leverage Google or LinkedIn to research the speakers of the event that you are attending or individual lawyers at the networking event. You can see their names as you scroll through the list of attendees. This gives you a great opportunity to easily connect with other lawyers without needing to exchange a Linkedin profile or business card.
Further, you can simultaneously research and interact with other lawyers during an event. This can be to your benefit – for example you can find out info on lawyers as they speak, and take note of who you would like to reach out to after an online event.
Of course, it’s important to have something useful to say during a networking event. Make sure to take advantage of this when using Zoom on meeting online.
Have a professional background
First impressions are important. Although looking nice comes intuitively, we are still getting used to taking care of all the ancillary aspects of networking online. One of these is having a nice background.
Often, we have a bedroom, closet doors, open doorways and messy houses behind us. However, having a plain wall with a pot plant on the side, or a piece of artwork, looks far more professional – all from the comfort of your own home.
If this isn’t possible, have no fear – technology can save the day. Welcome to the world of virtual backgrounds. Here’s how to enable it on Zoom:
1: Open Zoom on your computer.
2: Click the Gear icon in the top right corner of your display to open the Settings .
3: Select Background & Filters on the left.
4: Next, under Virtual Backgrounds, you will be able to access a few built-in backgrounds, some more professional than others. A live preview will show how you will look in front of the background.
5: You can choose a custom background too – click the Plus (+) icon next to Video Filters. This lets you upload your own custom video or photo to use as a virtual background.
Follow-up and/or stay in touch
Keeping in touch is simple and essential to successful networking. After a cup of coffee in person or meeting at a networking event, it’s important to send a thank-you note or suggestion to follow up.
Meeting online is different from networking in the real world, so think about how you can creatively express your personality and values when you follow up.
There are tools you can use to make it easier to follow up with network contacts. On the simple end of the scale, you can write a post-it and stick it to your computer screen. Or, you can set a phone alarm or calendar event. One step further, and you can delay an email to yourself forwarding the details or notes of the meeting.
The golden standard, both in terms of time efficiency and effectiveness, is using a simple contact relationships management tool (CRM) designed for lawyers.
On NEXL, you can automatically track interactions and activity you share with your contacts (including emails exchanged), take notes of meetings, set up automated reminders to reach out, and more.
To try these tools yourself for some quick, easy and powerful networking capabilities, visit NEXL and join for free!