Virtual Networking Know How

Virtual Networking Know How

April 12, 2023
Shari Steinbach
Business SkillsCareer Development

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

As in-person business meetings and large conference events took a back seat to virtual communications over the past several years, many professionals had to curtail some of their typical networking activities. But in today’s world, technology has made all types of interaction possible, including ways to make connections. Here are some tips to ensure success with networking in the virtual space.

  • Start With a Goal – Consider what you want to achieve from networking. Are you looking for a mentor, career advice or a potential job opportunity? Is there a particular service you are looking to expand and want to learn more about how to proceed? Once you have determined your goal it will help you direct your networking efforts and how many hours you dedicate.
  • Make Connections – Before jumping into networking it’s important to expand your connections. Use social sites such as LinkedIn to search for industry peers or experts on specific topics of interest. You can also join social groups that are dedicated to particular professional areas. Before asking to connect, however, make sure your own social profile is up-to-date. A polished and professional profile provides credibility to your outreach messages.
  • Be Prepared – When it’s time for virtual networking make sure you are fully prepared. Troubleshoot any technical issues ahead of time to ensure Internet connections, audio and camera functions are working correctly. It’s also important to prepare what you want to talk about during the networking session. Prepare questions to direct the conversation and make sure to have note-taking supplies nearby to capture key information.
  • Hone Writing Skills – Some virtual networking experiences will not require audio and video. Some contacts may prefer to exchange email messages so they have adequate time to think about offering the best responses to your questions. Make sure your writing tone is professional and respectful and proof all messages to make sure there are no grammatical errors. Remember to show your appreciation to those who make time for you in their busy schedules by sending a thank-you note.
  • Ask to Share Experiences – When you connect with someone and learn something new, ask if they wouldn’t mind you sharing a bit of what you learned from them in a social post. This sharing of information can serve to help build your personal brand as a good connector who is appreciative of learning.

The upcoming RDBA Virtual Experience (April 18 - 20) is a great opportunity to make connections with colleagues from across the continent. With over 350 attendees and 40 retailers represented, this free event for retail dietitians has the potential to enhance your career and help you meet your goals. Register here.