Five Steps to Better Post-Pandemic Networking

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The world is gradually returning to some form of normalcy since the start of COVID, but business development will change forever. Advisors have not been able to network at in-person industry events, one of the more common business-development activities, and conducting business virtually is here to stay.

As we transition back into the workplace, consider new ways to build relationships and nurture your network. Here are five steps to adjust your professional networking skills for a post-pandemic world.

1. Aim for more meaningful connections. It’s not about hoarding business cards. Thanks to COVID, many clients have reevaluated how and where they work, and with whom they spend their time. Many clients and referral sources are looking to establish deeper connections for business development. Forget the sales pitch and serve as a true advisor, a shoulder to lean on, or a new friend.

Approach business networking as a bridge to developing genuine relationships that are grounded in common interests and mutual respect and trust. This approach encourages participants to place their faith in others' abilities as true professionals. You may collect fewer business cards, but the relationships you forge will be of higher quality and longer lasting. When this happens, there are commercial and personal advantages.

2. Avoid glad-handing. Far too many people go into sales mode in a professional networking setting, and this comes across as forced and fake. Check your ego at the door. Instead, focus on getting to know others on a personal level and letting them get to know you. Share the “backside of the business card,” such as your information about your family, hobbies and interests.

But it’s not all about you! You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk, and you’ll set yourself up to create connections that are genuine, mutual, and beneficial. Building lasting relationships is a job, but it can be enjoyable and invaluable. Take the time to do it now and your future will thank you!