The future of networking is digital

I have been thinking for several months about the different ways in which the coronavirus crisis has affected our professional lives. One of the areas that has attracted the most attention is the networking evolution.

In a previous article on the challenges and solutions for events during the coronavirus crisis , I spoke something about this topic, but I would like to delve into its consequences and possibilities.

What is it and how to do networking?
The definition of networking is clear: generate networks of contacts that open up business and employment opportunities.

This is clear to all of us. But what are the most common channels or ways of networking?

Events (edit)
Social media.
Personal professional contacts.
All of these options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Events : it has the great advantage that many people from the same sector are concentrated and, if you organize yourself well and do your homework beforehand, you can get good contacts. The big disadvantages are that they are at peak times, you cannot always go, it is usually quite difficult to have quiet moments to talk and as a consequence you end up with many Colombia Cell Phone Numbers List cards (yes, they continue to be exchanged!), But without many valuable contacts.
Social networks : it can be something similar to face-to-face events. Its advantages are that you have access to “all” the profiles and if you work hard and well, you can initiate valuable contacts , and that you can better synchronize agendas. Its big problems are the existing volume and noise. It’s hard to filter and the message bombardment can be deafening.
Network of personal professional contacts : This is the networking of the highest value, but it has the great disadvantage of being limited. That is why the rest of the channels are used to expand their reach.
As in many occasions in life, the key is in the balance between quality and volume:

Good networking is about making valuable contacts and it works when both parties win.

So the million dollar question is, how do we manage to make really useful contacts, with limited effort and with the necessary volume?

The reality is that the perfect combination does not exist, or at least I do not know it. Confinement and limitation of movements have forced us to seek digital solutions. I think it is time for us to evolve in this regard. But before we go to the possible solutions, let’s start by clarifying some basic concepts of networking.

What is NOT networking?
One of the most widespread mistakes is that many confuse selling with networking. They think that crushing a database or a social network is making professional contacts, when in reality it is pure and simple sale.

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Networking is the closest thing to a personal attitude . You create your network by adding contacts in which you have an initial interest and others with whom you establish relationships with the aim of discovering the common points that can lead to mutual benefit.

Giving without expecting anything in return
Networking works when both parties win, but this gain does not have to occur at the same time.

A relationship is strengthened by exchanging favors without expecting anything in return. I really like the favor bank theory. When you do someone a favor, you make a deposit into their account. Later, when you need something you can withdraw that income from their accounts (obviously not all have a balance or are available).

When you give without expecting anything in return, the universe gives it back to you multiplied. You can see it from the favor bank theory, or however you want, but it is a reality.

If you give, you receive, if you only ask, don’t expect to receive.

Digital café: leading by example
In my case, for many years I have accepted coffees from people who asked me for my opinion about their projects, advice to develop their careers, etc. Now also, I am offering them.

In the face of a serious problem or situation, we often tend to work harder to solve it. And this is what we must do, but being aware that we cannot alone. That is why we must seek the support of others.

That is why, in these moments of deep crisis, is when we need help the most. For this reason, I have launched Digital Café . An initiative in which I offer, in a totally selfless way, my time. It is a virtual meeting of about 30-45 minutes in which I will try to help you in everything that is in my power. So if you need advice on a project, you are blocked or you just want to share an idea, write me and we will organize to see each other .

Digital networking : asynchronous and delocalized
So far we have tried several ways to carry it out: social networks (mainly Linkedin), webinars or digital events (not the same), databases, etc. I have discussed its advantages and disadvantages throughout this article. The summary is that they do not finish working.

How could we improve what is current? We need a tool or platform that facilitates it, filters it and allows us to make high-value contacts.

It is still in full evolution, but a platform format that is beginning to respond to these needs is Lunchclub . It is a platform that was born in 2017 with the aim of helping us create a network of valuable contacts.

Once you have registered and completed your profile , Lunchclub is in charge of organizing virtual meetings (at first they were face-to-face), with people who have similar professional and personal interests.

You can define objectives so that your meetings are more effective, but it is not until you have “earned” it by being a good networker (attending meetings, evaluating your feelings, inviting contacts), that you can better segment your contact preferences and their location.

I have been using it for a few months and the truth is that it is surprising how many interesting people I have met. I am meeting many people related / interested in marketing and also interesting projects have emerged.

The most curious was that I ended up giving a workshop at the VISA startup accelerator in Brazil. One of the meetings with the CEO of a digital DE Phone Number agency in London, ended in being invited to a Slack group. In this group a girl asked if we would be interested in giving a lecture. I signed up and he put me in contact with a person in San Francisco (California), and this week I gave the workshop on measuring success in digital marketing.

Amazing, right? The world is much smaller than it seems to us.

Applications of digital networking
Be it with LunchClub or another platform. Well understood digital networking allows us to think of different applications:

Continued networking for platform users.
Networking in events: it would allow us to create a qualified database that allows us to start networking before the event and that the meetings take place during (face-to-face or virtual). And also to monitor and retain the attendees.
Integration with social networks or communities: can you imagine how networking on LinkedIn would change if it had this functionality?
Creation of a social network based on this concept: this is where Lunchclub can evolve or it can be created from scratch with a new initiative.
My feeling is that we are facing a new stage. In the coming months we will see very interesting new trends.




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