2020 brought us some unexpected challenges. As COVID-19 descended on the world, significant shifts in our personal and business life were forced on us, changing routines and habits in many ways. For a huge number of us, our business model was fundamentally affected, and remote learning became the norm. At the same time, many of the old mainstays of our professional life fell away – without physical meetings, handshakes, and body language, networking mostly fell away.
On a personal level, it has become easier than ever to lose touch with our nearest and dearest. The mundanity of lockdowns and isolation often leaves us feeling hopeless, and without bars, restaurants, and a socioeconomic climate to promote these relationships, it’s easy to lose track of friendships. By now, most of us have adapted our business model to thrive in these changing times. But how many of you have updated the way you’re nurturing those personal and professional relationships?
Despite the physical distance and often virtual barriers, networking is as important as ever in 2021. Let’s check in with the changing world of networking and explore how you can nurture your relationships in the time of COVID.
Understanding that relationships are often at the heart of your business practice leads to a fundamental shift in strategies. Face-to-face interactions used to be the mainstay of business practices, where social cues and body language could build trust.
Underestimating the value of staying connected in COVID times would be a grave mistake for your professional practice.
“Humans are inherently social creatures, and even in the absence of physical moments, many of your business relationships need to be sustained through connection to ensure trust and loyalty are sustained,” says Mary Minor, a business writer at Writinity.
Don’t devalue connection in a virtual era. Put effort into proper communication.
CRM (customer relationship management) software has been the key to maintaining customer connections for many businesses. Personal CRM takes this practice and hones in on those essential personal relationships that strengthen connections in the business world.
In a virtual era, the old-school tricks of networking are outdated and often impossible – personal CRM will enable your relationships to thrive without those traditional tools.
You need to remember that during these times, customers and your target audiences can be feeling just as isolated and as disconnected as you are, and this kind of situation demands empathy and proactivity.
With COVID-19, people are sometimes struggling beneath the surface, even if they don’t seem like it at first, and being able to stay in touch, basically just becoming a genuine human being, will help everybody get through these trying times.
Social media is another vital tool in a socially distanced world, but it’s important to remember that these platforms are capable of making you feel isolated and connected in equal measure. There are plenty of critics and studies out there that show that using social media excessively can make us feel more lonely than normal.
Critically examining how you use social media is essential in our increasingly virtual world.
Try to engage in social media positively and have a healthy relationship with the platforms you use – sharing content such as pictures and videos and commenting on the profiles of others. By interacting with other users, you’ll be strengthening connections and fostering more open and valuable relationships. In contrast to this, becoming a silent scroller often leaves you feeling like you’re on the outside looking in.
And when engaging with social media, remember that the engagement promoted by these platforms – likes and shares – can’t become the sum total of your social world. Reach out to friends, family, or business contacts on social networks to initiate deeper connections. One-on-one messaging and video calling is essential for maintaining those close, intimate connections that sustain us through hard times.
The unprecedented personal and professional challenges of 2020 gave rise to some unique opportunities. Those that adapted their business models to embrace an increasingly virtual world have been able to thrive. Leveraging personal CRM and embracing networking in a changing business landscape will enable you to make and keep those all-important connections.
Nothing should hinder you from networking in this digital age, even when social distancing is a must. Get yourself a smart contacts app like Covve and use it to stay in touch with people.
Download Covve now, for Android and iOS for free!
The writer, Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Belfast Writing Service and Gum Essays, and she helps promote effective business strategy through digital innovations. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and son.