Physical Distancing But Social Connectivity: Grow Your Network
At a daily news briefing on March 20, 2020 officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) said while maintaining a physical distance was "absolutely essential" amid the global pandemic, "it does not mean that socially we have to disconnect from our loved ones, from our family." In addition to family and friends, set aside time to maintain and grow your professional connections. When is the last time you connected with a former mentor, boss or colleague? Is your LinkedIn profile current?
Is there someone in particular you respect? With many people having more time, consider asking someone to be your mentor, or reach out to someone with a different skill set and suggest sharing ideas and perspectives from one another's respective areas of expertise.
We are fortunate to have the ability to connect with others using a variety of devices and technology enables us to be as creative as our time and abilities allow. Whether you video chat, send an email or pick up your phone. and call someone, now is the time to put effort into your professional network along with your social networks.
Dr. Rosina Racioppi, CEO of professional development program provider Women Unlimited, believes social distancing amid the coronavirus could be a catalyst for increased online networking and said it could stave off feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Dr. Jo Webber, CEO of social networking app Pod, similarly said that utilizing spare time while in self-isolation to network online was a way of “laying the foundation for future growth for when the pandemic comes to an end.”
Reaching out to existing and new contacts on LinkedIn is one method suggested by Racioppi.
“As you network, don’t be afraid to ask for a contact’s point of view on issues and circumstances that you are experiencing,” she said. “It’s also a great time to post your own thoughts and create more visibility for yourself.”
Likewise, Webber argued that expanding professional networks as a way of creating greater visibility is particularly important for small and medium-sized businesses which have a local focus.
“While most of the world is more tethered to the computer and cellphone than ever, this is a great time to do it and it will help some businesses save themselves,” she said.
Now is the perfect time to reflect on your network and consider opportunitites to build and increase your network. Taking a proactive approach might better position you to learn about opportunities and to remind others of how you can support their business needs.