By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
[email protected]

It took 24 days for the world total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to double. It took just four days for the total confirmed cases in the United States to double. These numbers drive home just how infectious this virus is and how fast the number of those infected can exponentially grow.
We all want to stay safe during this uncertain time, but we also need to address our responsibilities and care for our families. This means changing our habits and figuring out new ways of doing things. How do you maintain a successful career when you are working from home, and all networking functions have been canceled? We have a few ideas to help you maintain your network while also maintaining a safe distance.

Virtual Cocktail or Coffee Hour
Create a virtual event where you invite other professionals to have a cocktail or coffee with you. Use a group video chat app that allows multiple people to see and talk to each other simultaneously such as:

  • Google Hangouts
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Zoom

Create a theme for your video call that can provide some value to the attendees. It could be a chat to help those working from home for the first time. Or it could be a chat to address how you’ll address a loss in company productivity, financial strains, or employee illness.

Phone and Email
This is the perfect time to follow up on past networking contacts you’ve made. Life and work can get busy, and even with the best of intentions, you may not have followed up with everyone you’ve connected with. Use this time to create a list of people you haven’t connected with recently.
Once you have your list, decide the best way to reach out to each person. Some people may prefer an email, while others may appreciate a quick phone call. Keep the conversation short and express genuine concern for the other person. Don’t forget to offer assistance or aid.

Build Your Online Reputation
Try taking this time to build your reputation online. You could publish articles or answer forum questions. By doing this, you’ll build your reputation within the industry beyond those in your immediate network circle.
Try community websites like Reddit, Quora, or an industry-specific website. Engage in online conversations and develop your thoughts on relevant topics. There are 330 million users on Reddit that are active in over 138,000 communities, so you’re sure to find people to network with. Quora is a question and answer website with 80 million active users who ask and answer 3,000 to 5,000 questions every day.
Write an article or blog post for an industry website. Pick a topic that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Make sure that it’s published under your name.

Get Social
Log into your LinkedIn account and start virtual networking with industry professionals. This is another way you can connect with people you have networked with. Consider it a step in building your relationship with important connections.
You’ll also be able to see your second and third level connections. Look through your suggested connections and reach out to people that you may not have had a chance to meet in person.

Virtual Conference
With large gatherings getting canceled, people are getting creative in how they can get a similar experience. This has led to big-name musicians like Coldplay, Keith Urban, and John Legend hosting virtual concerts. Don’t be surprised if others start to follow suit with virtual conferences and other events.
Reach out to the host of an event you were planning to attend. Ask if they will still host the event, but virtually. You could attend a video presentation and then participate by submitting questions or comments through a chat system.

Continue to Network From home
Humans are social creatures, so staying away from each other and isolating ourselves is a challenge. Not only will these virtual networking tips assist you with your career, but they’ll also help you stay positive during this uncertain time.

Let’s get to work!
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]