Building relationships is at the heart of everything that is Rochester Women’s Network. From the volunteer committees that help keep our organization running to your presence at our networking events, how we engage with one another is how we thrive — individually and collectively. In fact, our mission is built on that foundation:
Mission: To enhance the professional and personal lives of women, in all stages of their careers, by affording them opportunities to support, empower and inspire each other.
“Flattening the curve” doesn’t have to mean completely disconnecting. So, how do we as an organization support our mission, and how do you, as a professional, continue to build relationships while practicing social distancing?
Members of our Marketing Committee recently held a virtual meet-up to offer these seven tips on how you can network from home and continue to build relationships:
- Schedule a virtual one-on-one by phone, FaceTime, or video conferencing service. Pour a cup of coffee, brew some tea, or have a happy hour and get to know each other better from the comfort of your own home! Better yet, combine that networking with a healthy activity, like taking the call outside while walking around, or use the time when you’d normally grab lunch together to instead cook a new recipe together while on a video chat.
- Explore Facebook groups. Find out which groups your Facebook Friends may be involved in and consider joining. Online communities are thriving for all types of interests and industries. Online relationships can be just as powerful as IRL relationships; therefore, once you’re in a group, engage with the members. Better yet, start your own group if you see a gap!
- Consider how your business can virtually deliver services. Could you provide video content that is useful to customers? For example, many gyms and fitness centers are offering web-based classes and workouts to their members. Offering this type of content could keep your existing customers engaged with your business — as well as attract potential new customers.
- Act as “business matchmaker” by thoughtfully reviewing your connections for people that may have mutual projects or goals, then introduce them. Or, ask current contacts for an introduction if you’re searching for a specific type of person/industry connection. In general, don’t send a blanket/generic message; personalize it for every individual so they can tell that you genuinely want to connect. Get started by diving into LinkedIn or thumbing through that stack of business cards.
- Invite co-workers or networking connections to attend an online concert, lecture, or other online event together. Relationships are built on shared experiences. Log in at the same time and connect by phone or messaging. Treat it as a social engagement where you can learn more about each other.
- Reach out to your contacts and check in to see how they’re doing on a personal level. You can do this by commenting, liking, or sharing their social media posts, or by connecting directly. Let people know you are here to support them, whether it’s feeling their pain or celebrating their daily wins. Use the phone or video conferencing platforms, as these often feel more personal than texts or emails.
- Be mindful of boundaries. Make sure to ask if now is still a good time to talk when connecting, and if the session goes on longer than 20 minutes, say “I’m really enjoying our conversation, but I don’t want to keep you from getting your work done,” to give them a chance to tap out. This, too, is part of building a good relationship!
We would love to hear how you are doing. As you try out these tips, tell us about your experiences, and, if your virtual colleague agrees, post a screenshot or selfie of your virtual meetup and tag Rochester Women’s Network.
The Rochester Women’s Network Marketing Committee is a group of members who work together to create the campaigns, messaging, graphics, and promotional materials you see online and in your inbox about RWN events and programs. The Marketing Committee is also the creator of the seasonal store of RWN merchandise, including conceptualizing and creating the seasonal signature design. The committee also manages RWN’s blog. They meet monthly alongside the Programs Committee and semi-monthly by conference call. And, occasionally, over beverages and arcade games at Swillburger.
Terra Osterling, Sudden Write Turn Freelance Writing
Susan Jefferson – TechCreative Web Design & Consulting
Kristi Mitchell – Digital Marketing Consultant for Small Businesses
Phase 2 Marketing