Online business networking – our lessons learnt

Online business networking – what have we learnt?

Online business networking is sadly going to be with us for our December Christmas event. Gone are the days of festive gatherings at the Chester Grosvenor to celebrate the year past, to kick back and to take stock ahead of the festive period.

So it seems a good time to recap on what we have learnt about Online business networking and how its impacted our members and guests, and consider what lessons it has taught us.

1.Anticipation

Back in March when on a whistle we had to abandon our face to face event and move to Online business networking – we were ready. We had seen what may be coming and had already road tested many different platforms to see which would best support out format and make it accessible to all members and visitors that in turn had a variety of systems and set ups.

2. Expect bumps and mistakes

Those that know me know that when hosting face to face or Online business networking event, I am not precious about a few gaffs or slip ups or saying things that come out wrong – usually generating a titter or ripple of laughter as we go. So it was important – as grave as the situation seemed t the time – to not aim for perfection but to be good enough. No pristeen book shelf as my backdrop for Online business networking zoom calls – we kept it real. Our break out rooms did not work, screen sharing seemed problematic, and the biggest thing – having no idea if people would even think it could work.

3.  Don’t have Zooms all day!

It is really tiring networking on Zoom. Unlike at face to face business networking events, there is no easy way to slope off to the toilet to decompress, no ability to get up and wander around and have a chat with someone else. One of the downsides and yet upsides is that when done well online business networking demands good focus and attention which can make it much more intense for many people.

4. Listening skills

One of the major upsides of networking online is that people do feel the quality of conversation is much improved. Gone are the days when you would see your ideal connection sat opposite you on the table – with the associated pressures of then not wanting to look too “pushy” to speak to them. With Online business networking the zoom breakout rooms make everyone equal. Everyone curious in that there can only be 1 conversation, and much more circular and collaborative. Its one aspect where Online business networking  far exceeds face to face networking.

5. Creativity

Online business networking has been a boon to driving new business ideas, start ups and innovation. Many if not almost all of our members are running their businesses incredibly differently now compared to this time last year. Efficiency has increased, costs have reduced (in some cases) BUT – connection with others is CRITICAL to success. Thats where Online business networking provides a business critical service to business leaders, start ups and entrepreneurs.

6. Idea sharing

There are so many innovations that I can honestly say with every Zoom call I run for Online business networking or for 121 meetings, I learn something every time. From new tech gadgets, to techniques, to new business models and idea, the ideas I sollate and pass on has been transformational for some businesses.

7. A blended approach

Online business networking will be here to stay. BUT – it will support the face to face business networking. e are not designed to live in square boxes. We are social creatures. So even though we have crafted a way to make Online business networking work for us and our members – we all crave connection face to face. That is why we will find safe ways to meet – walks, golf, spa days – you name it – we will do it. And leave the business to Online business networking and the fun to outdoor adventures.

What have you learnt over the past few month about immersing yourself in Online business networking? How has it helped – or hindered your business?

Let me know!

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