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Top tips for networking as we come out of lockdown

by Philippa Constable on 24th Jul 2020
The past few months have been very strange for business owners all over the world, but here in our little corner of the UK we have been heartened to see that the majority of this wonderful community of business people have been making networking one of their priorities while in lockdown. Virtual networking has provided a unique and convenient way to network and brought with it some wonderful benefits. We have loved seeing you embrace this way of connecting with other business owners and welcoming new members who were previously unable to attend our lunchtime meetings. This is why we decided to create the online membership communoty who’s meetings will remain virtual even when the original lunchtime ones go back to face to face.
 
However, as convenient as online meetings are, when the time is right for each group, we can’t wait to get the original groups back to face to face meetings. It is clear how much you have missed each other and, while it may be some time before we can greet each other with a warm hug like we may have done previously, we can still enjoy a lovely lunch and see more than just our fellow members’ heads and necks on a computer screen!! 
 
With the anticipation of face to face meetings in mind and taking into consideration that some may still be nervous of getting back to networking in the “normal” way, I thought I’d share some tips for preparing and getting back to physical networking:
 
1. Refresh your skills and make sure your one minute hits the mark – Even if you are a seasoned networker, the online networking experience is very different to the physical networking experience so a little refresh will probably be needed. Remember that my Networking Skills workshops are free to members and are designed to help you make an impact when you attend networking events. Better still, as they are currently online they are easier than ever to attend. Simply book your place on the website and you will be sent a Zoom link a couple of days beforehand. 
 
2. Keep up with the online one to ones – Whilst some of you may never want to attend another Zoom meeting again once things get back to normal, it is worth keeping them in mind for one to ones. Of course if you are local to each other nothing can beat a one to one in a coffee shop or pub garden but if you are a little further afield having a virtual coffee over zoom after connecting at a physical meeting will help to nurture that relationship and avoid you losing touch simply because you are not close in location.

3. Do what you feel most comfortable with – We completely appreciate that for every member who is itching to get back to face to face meetings there will be others who will need a bit longer to feel comfortable enough to attend one in person. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible so, even when it is confirmed that your home group is going back to meeting face to face, if you are not ready to attend meetings in this way please do let us know. We will do what we can to make sure you get the networking experience that you are completely at ease with in the knowledge that your space in your home group is waiting for you when you do feel ready. 
 
We hope all of our members can rest assured that we will not be jumping into physical networking until we feel it is completely safe to do so. This will depend on each individual venue and how they can accommodate us with social distancing in mind and will most likely mean that some groups go back before others. We will also have a clear plan in pace for how we can keep members safe and healthy so all you have to do is enjoy the networking and lunch!