The do’s and don’ts of Zoom networking
The do’s and don’ts of Zoom networking
It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a whole year since networking moved out of bustling event spaces and onto the then mysterious world of Zoom.
But almost a year down the line, a lot of positives have been highlighted when it comes to this new way of doing things. Saving time and money on travel and the ability to join networks outside your immediate geographical area are just a couple of examples.
And what have we learnt along the way? So, here are our do’s and don’ts of Zoom networking tips when it comes to presenting your best self at a virtual networking event.
Test out your setup.
If you know you’re not a technology whizz, have a quick practise run. Ask a friend or trusted colleague to hop on a quick video call with you so you can get to grips with the technology. Check what your background looks like (we’ve all seen the horror stories over the past year of people not checking their shelves are clear!) Check that you’re on mute as a default and other minor things that will ensure you have a smooth entrance.
During this trial run, you can make sure you’re confident in things like screen sharing, running any chats, muting and unmuting participants. You’ll be looking slick by the end of it. You’ll probably only need to do this if you’re running a session or are taking part as a guest speaker. Either way, make sure you’re confident with the technology you’re using.
Get dressed for the occasion.
It’s all too easy to want to stay in your comfortable clothes. Whether you’re in your full onesie or ‘business on the top, comfort on the bottom’, it’s worth getting dressed as you would for a face to face meeting. Get into the habit of treating virtual as reality.
Getting up and dressed often sends signals to our brains that we’re in work mode. Some even say it can boost productivity. It’s hard to get the same feeling when in your cookie monster pyjamas, right?
For all intents and purposes, this is a meeting like any other. Whoever is running the meeting, should remember to come with a session plan in mind. Just as you would if it was a face to face meeting, carve out specific time in your day to attend and come with your objectives for that day.
Have you clarified your pitch and your offering? Have you had a look through the guest list? Have you made a list of people you’d like to get the chance to speak to over the course of the session? Just because it’s a virtual event, doesn’t mean less preparation is required. You’d want to put your best foot forward in real life. Virtually is no different.
Try new things.
Just like in the ‘real world’, you’re probably not going to click with every group you attend. Just because it’s a virtual event, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep showing up if you don’t feel like you’re connecting with the group.
Try several on for size. You never know what kind of inspiring people you’ll meet along the way. And don’t be afraid to arrange a one to one follow up call with someone, just as you would face to face. If you think there’s a great opportunity with someone, get to know them. See where it goes!
…spend the entire meeting looking at yourself.
Remember what we said earlier about a trial run? Check whether you can genuinely focus on the other person while your self view is switched on. If you find yourself constantly gazing at your own reflection, simply turn off self view so you can give the speaker your undivided attention.
…be a distraction.
We can’t always help what’s going on around us at home. But we can control when our microphone and camera are switched on.
If you have other things happening in the background, make sure you’re not detracting attention from the other participants in the meeting. Similarly to taking a phone call outside the room in a face to face meeting, be mindful of how your background activity could be distracting to others.
…panic if you have technical difficulties.
Even the most technologically minded of us can have mishaps. And we might be a year in, but the internet and our devices aren’t 100% fail proof. Just as you would if you had a live technical glitch, take a deep breath and try to resolve the issue.
And worst case scenario, always have a backup plan. Come up with a plan B of your presentation or talk that doesn’t require any additional technology other than you on camera. If that fails, can you create a document you could email out as a follow up from the meeting? There’s lots of creative ways to use technology to overcome those irritating technical issues.
We predict that lots of people will want to see a hybrid version of networking going forward. For some, the convenience of joining in from home has been a blessing – saving hours of time travelling back and forth. Others crave the live energy of being in a room with others. Will we see some clever video conferencing mixed together with a room full of people? Here’s hoping!
Here at In Business, we’ve been on this zoom networking journey this year, too! We’ve learnt a lot along the way and we’ve got a supportive group that’s here to help. We hope the do’s and don’ts of Zoom networking blog has been useful. Why not come along to our next meeting? Book your place here