I wrote a blog in the beginning of April called How To Network In the Newer New Normal.
April seems like years ago today. I miss my networking. The 2 to 3 coffees a day. Drinks after work at the office. The networking events exchanging business cards and standing next to somebody with a glass of wine in my hand chatting.
I miss connecting the dots and connecting folks with common backgrounds like language, culture, or experiences. “You should meet this person.”
Many people attended networking events to show the flag as the expression went. Being seen has great value. It creates personal awareness for a person. There is a famous restaurant in Buenos Aires called Café La Biela. When I went the first time, I asked the waiter why it costs to sit outside. He looked at me with a bit of curiosity and said, “because you will be seen sir.”
Oh, I still try to network. I talk to folks, have the occasion well separated drink with somebody I know to catch up, but it doesn’t seem to be the same. I like meeting strangers and the discovery and creation of common touch points to build connection. I like the mystery and challenge of that journey.
I look at the Notification feed on LinkedIn daily and congratulate folks on birthdays and promotions. A like or a congrats comment does provide some engagement, but it is not working a room.
I listen to news and conversations from around the world and one thing appears to be clear in a cloudy world. Most people miss social engagement. We miss people. I know I do but networking is what I do. My network employs me, nurtures me, teaches me and rewards me. I need my people fix.
A group I attend virtually wanted to have an in-person networking meeting. A great intent for sure but did I feel comfortable attending. No really. Mixed. I asked some of my friends, some in different countries would they attend? No was what they said. The event was cancelled.
So, is networking dead? Maybe not dead but changed for sure. I live in California so attending an outdoor event in the New Year may happen. Not sure when. Will people wear masks? Probably. Will they stand two meters apart? Probably not. Will they shake hands. Probably not. Will you exchange business cards? Maybe.
So, what is your take? Would you attend an in person outdoor meeting? How long before you feel comfortable doing that? How are you networking today?