How To Achieve The Power Of Face-to-face Networking In A Society Disrupted By Covid-19

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Projob is a recruitment and career coaching agency with a focus on expats. Projob works with local and international companies, professionals and freelancers.

First a question: What does networking mean to you? To me, networking means becoming stronger by connecting. And the very best way to do that is meeting in person.

Whichever meaning you choose to lend to the concept of networking, it is part of all of our lives, consciously or subconsciously. You could almost call it a survival technique. But what do you do when you find yourself in a situation like the one we're all in now: when it’s best to stay at home and keep at least a 1.5-metre distance from others?

What is the purpose of networking?

Networking always has a goal. You seek contacts who can help you in your work or personal life and vice versa - you can help them in return. It means that you are connected to other people and are therefore actively deploying the principle of supply and demand (giving and receiving); ensuring faster, more innovative results, simply because you are collaborating. And isn’t that something we all want? Maybe even more so if you're an expat in a new country where you haven't built up networks yet.

Is social media enough?

Via the ever-present social media, you have access to digital networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where you can join groups, participate in discussion forums etc. and log on at any time from wherever you are. The primary goal of social media is information sharing but the real aim for many is the sharing of assignments, giving leads etc.

Personal preferences play a lesser role here and in some cases, personal contact is never a given! But can the online network “as we know it” replace the networks with face-to-face meetings, where you have personal conversations by which you will always be more remembered than by data or opinions that you share through social media? I don’t think so.

A solution: online networking 2020

Talking to others who are in the same situation, sharing knowledge or showing yourself when you are looking for work can easily be done by using a tool like Zoom. You can see everyone that’s in the virtual room. The host can make sure everyone has a say. As I am working in the labour market, I suggest organising a network meeting with a recruiter and / or labour market specialist that can inform you of new developments.

And take it seriously! Make your appearance as if you would meet the people you will be talking to in person. You never know who you will meet and what they can do for you.

We all use this tool, or a similar one, for webinars, company meetings, and training sessions but hardly for the purpose of networking with a group of people that you don’t know but who are looking for the same as you do. If the host screens the participants, you will be sure you will meet like-minded people with the same goals!

Don't let the 1.5 metres of social distancing stop you from networking and don't let yourself be under the impression that posting on social media is now the only way of networking.

Projob invites you to take part in a network meeting in which labour market information is shared but you can also hear how others are doing and what tips they have. If you want you can sign up via this link. We hope to meet you there!