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When You Can't Go Live, Go Online: Work Your Network

The coronavirus isn’t just wreaking havoc on public health. Events - everything from SXSW to workshops like our Resume and LinkedIn workshop - are being postponed and increasingly, moved online. But when you’re looking to return to work or shift gears, your need to make those connections doesn’t stop. You just need to adapt and move online.

And fortunately, technology makes that possible in a protected manner. However, the rules of engagement are a little bit different than in person, so we’re sharing our top online networking tips so you can attend those Zoom events, meet new folks, and follow-up like a pro.

Post a Recent Photo to your Online Connection Tools. Whether you use MS Teams, Skype, Hangouts or Zoom, take a moment before the online meeting starts to update your profile with a professional photo and contact information.

Dress Up and Go Live. It’s tempting to stay in your pj’s and keep a photo up during the call. Especially when networking is your goal, we urge you to use the video function. It will create a more meaningful connection and that is what you're targeting when networking. The good news is you can still stay in your pajama pants!

Do a Dry Run. It’s a good idea to do a practice session ahead of time, especially if you aren’t familiar with the tool. See where the audio and video controls are positioned. All the major online conferencing tools have online tutorials. Take a few minutes to review them; you’ll be extra prepared. If you’re going to be viewed live, see how you look on camera and set up your viewing station to your best effect - Amy Barzdukas at offers great guidance about taking meetings from home. The Verge has great guidelines here too, including directions on how to put a background up in Zoom that hides, well, everything.

Be Patient and Polite in Sidebar Conversations. Suddenly, everyone is using video chat tools and despite everyone’s best efforts, there are flubs. Sometimes, there's a bandwidth issue. Or newbies struggle with the mute button. Support each other and discretely redirect people to preferred protocols. These are people on the other end of the line; they’ll remember your kindness.

Make Sure to Follow-up in LinkedIn. When you have a chance to chat online, send a note when you connect, and refer to the online event where you “met.” This may feel awkward at first: many folks won’t connect unless they’ve met in person. This is an unusual time, and these new rules of engagement are a good opportunity to see an alternate way to meet and connect professionally.

The Swing Shift meets online every month! Join us next week as we chat with Kate Isler, executive director of Be Bold for Change, about pay parity, negotiation best practices, and why it’s important to go get that money.


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