Business networking is alive and well right now in February 2021, in fact it might be the best time ever to network, and networking should never stop. It doesn’t matter how employed you are, how high up you are or how old you are; you should always be networking. It also doesn’t matter that in-person events for business networking are mostly canceled for the foreseeable future, you should always be business networking!
Why should you always be business networking?
I like to think of networking as planting seeds – these seeds that might grow tomorrow, years from now, or may never grow – nevertheless, the seeds are almost always worth planting.
- To support others: We all have something to share and everyone’s perspective is unique, business networking is an opportunity for you to be there to support others.
- To learn: Meeting interesting people is fun – even if it doesn’t lead to a new job or anything else. You never know who may inspire you to do your next great thing.
- To job hunt: This one is obvious – right? What might not be so obvious is that you should be job hunting even when you have a job; to set yourself up for the future. Job hunting is for everyone, even if you are the CEO or you’ve been at the same place for many years – you never know what will happen and you should set yourself up for the unexpected. I mean…look at 2020…
Everyone should invest in business networking:
Business networking is not just for salespeople, by considering the list above, you can see that networking is for everyone, including, and not limited to:
- Students: High School students and higher-education students alike should be networking.
- Educators: Meet other educators, meet industry people, meet students that need your support – individuals from all these different situations will help you grow and you never know the difference you can make in the lives of others as well.
- Non-Business People & Non-Knowledge Workers: It never hurts to meet new people, to share your ideas, and to learn about others’ ideas. You might be inspired or inspire others in ways you never thought possible.
I’ve seen the power of business playout right before my eyes:
“My name is Jai Betala. I am a 17-year-old student from Toronto. I started networking because I wanted to meet new individuals. Every person has a unique perspective on life, and understanding their perspective usually helps in navigating your own life. I started networking by attending events that were happening in my local community. During COVID I have started to join more virtual events and reaching out to more people online. Networking has benefitted me professionally and personally. Professionally, I have gotten all my 3 internships through networking and met some excellent individuals who give me advice on going about my professional decisions. Personally, I have found some great people who have become some of my closest friends.“
I was and still am so impressed by Jai that as soon as I can hire him, I will.
Add Jai on Linkedin and let him know you read about him here.
What are the best ways to participate in business networking today?
The opportunity is in the new networking apps, communities, and websites.
Business Networking Website: Lunchclub
Per their site “AI superconnector that makes introductions for 1:1 video meetings to advance your career.“
Personal Experience: 4 out of 6 of the people I connect with are good and and one of those 4 is usually amazing. I’ve met life-long friends like futurist Daria Lamb and people that I look forward to working with and connecting with in the future.
Business Networking Community: Serial Marketers
Per their site “An inclusive community based in Slack, the 2,000+ Serial Marketers members share job opportunities, get recommendations for who to work with and what technologies to use, post event invites, showcase their latest projects, and support each other in countless ways.”
I asked the founder, David Berkowitz, what he thought about networking today and the role of his community:
“When the quarantine first hit in New York City in March, I remember that day thinking how the community went from a nice-to-have for me to a need-to-have. Fittingly, the group’s membership doubled from December 2019 to June 2020. Having an online community with people you can trust for feedback, information, and leads for your business becomes invaluable when our networks are more mobile than ever.”
- Personal Experience: Safe, welcoming place I use all the time. I jump in to support people when I can, ask questions, and even do some self-promotion, and all three of these tactics have led me to meeting and connecting with great, new people.
Business Networking App: Upstream
Per their site, “Join communities, give and get help, attend events to meet other professionals, and spend meaningful time together.“
I had the opportunity to debate Alex, founder of Upstream, about networking in 2020 on my business debate show (Prove It Matters), and here’s what happened:
- Personal Experience: I think of Upstream as business speed-dating. The platform connects you with random people from within a community and you have a few minutes to talk to them. And right now, it’s hands-down my favorite place to network. If you can’t tell from the video above, I like to talk and usually talk fast, so this gives me a chance to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time. I love the app so much and this speed-networking format that I offer my own personal office hours via the app.
Business Networking Website: Hi Right Now
Per their site, “A series of 6 minute 1:1 video conversations to enable meaningful connections.“
- Personal Experience: It’s where I met Jai (see above). It’s also where I have spent the least amount of time. This isn’t to say anything negatively about the website, it’s just I don’t have enough time. My perspective is that this is more of an international crowd, while a lot of the other networking apps and websites are seemingly USA-centric.
Hope you found this supportive. If you’d like to network with me, please do: