How to Stay Connected, Apart
March 24, 2020
With just about every scientist and medical expert out there recommending that we stay home unless absolutely necessary, many of us are grappling with how to remain connected while staying apart.
Temporarily gone are the days when we could just swing by a colleague’s office, head to lunch with a business partner, or play a round of golf with a group of industry peers. Thankfully, technology provides us with myriad opportunities to maintain personal and professional relationships—and even grow them—from the comfort (and safety) of our homes.
Chances are there is much you could be doing to ensure that, when the pandemic passes, you’ll have a larger network than when it started. And that means more opportunity for your business, something we can all appreciate during this uncertain time. Let’s run through a few options to keep you in contact and on track for success.
Use virtual conference rooms for more than just your morning meeting: You’re likely holding meetings through video conference platforms like Zoom already—and maybe even using the tool to reach out to family members or friends outside your home.
If you’ve tried the latter, it was probably a more casual conversation, complete with tea, coffee, or a glass of wine—depending on the time of day. Consider taking a similar tack and reach out to a colleague or even a professional acquaintance for a virtual coffee or a drink. Use it as a chance to network or simply chat about potential opportunities, rather than a formal touch-base. You’ll log off feeling fortified and full of new ideas to implement now and when your office doors reopen.
Make Your LinkedIn Page a Connection Goldmine: A key part of building strong connections is making sure you’re in the position to be found—especially when you’re not about to run into your next business partner or hire at an in-person event or a local restaurant. If your LinkedIn presence isn’t as strong as it could be, this is the time to change that. What makes the biggest impact when it comes to getting your profile in tip-top shape?
- A “hero” header image. You need a shot that establishes your authority, ideally a photograph that captures you speaking to an audience or working with an individual or a group. When others can see you taking action and collaborating with people and companies in the real world, they’ll be ready to link up too (even if those in-person meetings are off-limits for a little while longer).
- A Full bio. You’re no longer limited to a resume-style brief on all of your accomplishments on the LinkedIn site. Today, you can include a full narrative bio as part of your profile, complete with links to external media like your PR page or to your book (if you’re just getting started on drafting it, check out last week’s post for tips).
- Your observations. You can now share native long-form articles and blogs from your LinkedIn account. Doing so helps you build and bond with followers, and regular writing is a great exercise to get you in the zone for a bigger project (how’s that book coming, by the way?). So, what are you waiting for? Start writing!
Take advantage of the podcast craze: These days, it seems as if everyone is on the podcast train, and for good reason. People turn to podcasts for everything from how-tos on hobbies to relationships, and—of course—professional insights. And podcasts are not just for long commutes; people can tune in during any quarantine activity—whether working from home, cooking three meals a day, or going for a run on an empty path.
What’s even better? They’re the perfect way to stay connected to your network without having to interact directly—and we’re betting you finally have enough time on your hands to make one happen.
A podcast also provides a great opportunity to reach out to contacts new and old for interviews, and to forge new and stronger relationships in the process, all without leaving your couch (though we’ve heard a closet can be the perfect makeshift recording studio).
Write that book: We’ve said it once; we’ll say it again: this is the time to harness the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of extra time to connect with new audiences in a new way. A book is a perfect way to do just that—and your efforts now will far outlast our current circumstances.
With these strategies, you’ll have put in the groundwork to keep you in the game today and tomorrow, and when things are busier than ever on the other side, you’ll be glad you did.