Onwards and upwards Part 4 – Jude

Networking during a global pandemic has probably been quite low down on the list of people’s priorities. Or has it?

Surely, it’s more important than ever to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, clients, partners and people in general. Face-to-face meetings (do you remember them?) are for now, a thing of the past and Team Mustard’s last one all together in the office is very clear in all our memories (June’s blog recounts it so well). So how do we recreate the networking feeling and keep in touch?

Digitally, that’s how. Get online. But I’m already online I hear you say. My point exactly.

Our personal lives have all been broadened this year to do things we didn’t think possible. Getting the whole family on a What’s App call, holding yet another fun quiz on MS Teams or even a Saturday night takeaway curry with six families eating all together on a Zoom call (yes, this did happen and please Santa can I have Zoom shares for Christmas?)

Our ways of working have also changed and in some ways for the better. Let’s not forget that being online is all about networking in one way or another. If we’ve proved anything in 2020 it’s the importance of social media. Captain Sir Tom’s challenge started, and was promoted online and look what happened there.

Of course, there are many networking groups taking place online (The Businesses Community, Platinum Point, Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors, Mums UnLtd to name a few) but you also already have your own social network at your fingertips. LinkedIn is the most obvious professional network, and it has its own groups which you can be part of. Take a look and see if there is a group which you could belong to, maybe a local one or one tailored towards your profession. These groups hold valuable forums which can share a wide variety of support.

Facebook and Instagram provide invaluable social networking, with both business and individual pages, groups and communities to interact with. A very different feel to LinkedIn and people do communicate on a different level, a bit more personal, colloquial and so important as an entrepreneur or sole trader who works alone. Then there’s Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest to engage in and if you’re of a certain age, Snapchat and Tik Tok (I thought my dancing days were behind me but apparently not).

Keeping in touch or networking, as business types like to call it, is vital in these uncertain times and we must not forget that building relationships is just as effective in the digital world as it is in the flesh. And you don’t even need to wear a mask.