6 Networking Tips for Consultants Navigating Hybrid Work
Learn how to effectively network and engage with professional peers in virtual formats.
Articles published September 30, 2021 by Holly Veeder
Remote work became the norm for many of us in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Meanwhile, organizations across industries adopted video conferencing as a basic business continuity strategy. This gave us a way to stay in touch and collaborate with coworkers and clients. Since then, these different ways of working have become the new paradigm of business life.
Several major corporations have already announced permanent remote and hybrid working strategies. The list includes Twitter, Salesforce, Google, LinkedIn, and more. Organizations and their employees are being forced to acclimate to the changing culture to succeed. This is even true for those of us who work in industries where personal connections matter the most.
A critical component to any consultants’ success is networking and professional development. These strategies help you stay up-to-date on important information and trending needs. They also create opportunities for you to make new connections with corporate decision-makers.
So, with in-person opportunities on the decline, how can you grow your network and enhance your consulting skillset from home? Consider these six tips for virtual networking and professional development to give you an edge while at work or on the job hunt.
1. Join Networking Groups
It may seem obvious to virtually connect with professional groups to grow your network, but it’s important to be purposeful. You can use platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Slack to connect with others. Possible connections include peers, industry experts, and even fellow alumni.
2. Take Advantage of Virtual Office Spaces
Virtual office solutions provide spaces for employees to connect about work and beyond. These platforms enable fast and effective communication, collaboration, and engagement. Most virtual office solutions allow screen sharing. They also create an opportunity to express appreciation for your peers and teammates.
Using these spaces, you can schedule meetups with people in your community, on your team, or at other organizations. You can use these meetups to network and engage in professional development, regardless of where everyone is at.
3. Attend Virtual Conferences
Virtual conferences are on the rise and are more accessible than ever thanks to their format. Register and attend virtual conferences to gain valuable insights into your industry and participate in educational discussions.
Many virtual conferences also include networking opportunities. Set up one-on-one appointments with experts and peers before or after the virtual events. Use this time to connect and discuss interesting sessions.
4. Extend Your Reach
Before the pandemic, people would attend business conferences and networking engagements based on geographic location and budget constraints. Now, you can select opportunities with the most potential — regardless of location and cost. This allows you to be more selective and purposeful with your networking and professional development participation.
5. Send Check-in Emails to Your Contacts
While it’s a simple concept, sending emails to stay in touch is an effective way to make sure you remain top-of-mind. Using email to follow up with professionals already in your network lets you share updates about your career progress and goals. You can also use these check-in emails to express interest in new opportunities.
6. Maintain a High Level of Professionalism
Even though your work environment may be casual at home, it’s best to keep things professional when taking part in virtual networking opportunities. Continue to look the part and stick to professional rhetoric when engaging with others in virtual meeting spaces. This advice also holds true when navigating social media platforms. The way we connect has changed, but the importance of first impressions has not.
The Way We Work Will Continue to Evolve
The transition to and evolution of remote and hybrid working environments will no doubt continue into 2022 and beyond. More companies are implementing work from home strategies every day. Enterprise Technology Research estimates that 70 percent of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month by 2025.
Consultants will have to embrace virtual opportunities for networking and professional development to be successful. Now is the time to network better.
If you are a job seeker looking for a career jumpstart, consider reaching out to Aureon’s team of consulting experts for a leg up on the competition.