The right Zoom virtual office background creates a professional air when video chatting with vendors, but what else can you do to boost your impact? Networking is one of your most powerful tools, though it looks a little different when you work remotely. If you’re unsure where to start, try these five professional relationship-building avenues.
1. Online Happy Hours
Online happy hours are casual yet professional virtual events where you can get to know colleagues. Companies and associations often host these mixers for employees and members to boost morale and camaraderie.
To prepare for an online happy hour, choose a minimalist Zoom background to avoid distracting others. You should also dress as though you are attending the event in person. Usually, the organizers have a few games or activities to serve as icebreakers, so don’t hesitate to participate.
2. Local Business Groups
If you own or are part of a small business, one of the best ways to network is through local groups. You can find associations for your industry through LinkedIn or join your local chamber of commerce for broader access.
Local connections provide numerous opportunities to cement mutually beneficial partnerships. They also present ways to positively impact the community and boost your brand’s reputation.
3. Social Media
Social media is one of the most effective ways to network, especially if you’re new to an industry. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for connecting with associates, but there are plenty of other places to find resources:
Twitter is a quick way to follow movers and shakers. YouTube may not be as interactive, but you can direct message creators you value. A well-worded email can lead to collaboration and even brand deals. Finally, the forum-based Reddit has dozens of niche communities sharing industry tips and tricks.
4. Alumni Network
Universities are networking hubs — in addition to bright young minds seeking mentors, they also play host to visiting speakers, researchers and even investors. If you keep in contact with a professor, you can ask for introductions to others in their field, jumpstarting your network.
Many universities also offer resources to alums, such as newsletters, association memberships and access to exclusive events. You can attend online mixers, webinars and social media groups filled with your fellow graduates.
5. Professional Development Classes
Finally, look for ways to expand your skill set. You can take classes on virtual platforms:
Most platforms have forums where learners can ask questions, discuss courses, and share their projects. You can also attend webinars held by your local library or a professional organization. What matters most is accessing a new space, learning additional skills and introducing yourself to other attendees.
Networking in the digital world may be a new experience, but you have plenty of tools for success. From downloading office Zoom backgrounds free of charge to joining social media groups for local businesses, the online resources are endless. With a bit of time and energy, you can forge professional connections and boost your career.
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