2 Ways to Expand Your Network In The Time Of COVID
Updated: Feb 28
If you are like me, you have been at home for far too long and Zoom has become a constant companion. You meet people in person only occasionally, and in-person conferences are a distant memory. The Pre-COVID methods for meeting people at conferences and meetings are no longer an option.
So, what do we do instead? How do we expand our networks in a time of isolation? How do we make connections six feet apart?
The answer is straightforward, and your network holds the key. Every person whom you know, knows hundreds of others. They are connected by alumni networks, social media platforms, and family ties. Send out the bat signal, and they will jump to action.
Well, sort of. There are two approaches.
Ask for Specific Introductions
You can reach out to your friends and colleagues and ask them to introduce you to people that they know. But, if you are going to go this route, be specific about your request. Explain who you are looking to meet and why that person is important to you.
A few weeks ago, I contacted my brother and mentioned that I needed to speak with a real estate agent because I was looking to do market research for my app, Connector Street. He texted a realtor friend and got the thumbs up. He was happy to make the introduction, and it worked out swimmingly.
'Pay It Forward' - Help People in Your Network
Another way is what I would call, the “pay it forward” approach. You reach out to friends, colleagues, clients, etc. You listen to what they are working on, dreaming about, and hoping to achieve. And then you suggest people that you know who could be helpful. This approach relies on a real understanding of what your friend is looking for and a thoughtful consideration of your contacts. A promising connection lies somewhere in your network, you just have to find it.
For example, a friend recently contacted me because he is developing a new, innovative payment platform and is seeking investors. He wondered if I knew anyone who would be interested. I replied that I did not know any investors, but offered to help in some other way. We set up a call.
I was expecting a pitch, but didn’t hear it. Instead, he asked me about me. What was I up to? What projects was I working on? Then he offered to help. He said that he would like to make introductions to potential collaborators for ME! After several minutes, we turned to his project. By the end of his short presentation, I easily thought of several contacts who might be interested in working with him or investing in his venture. I couldn’t make any promises, but I told him I’d reach out to my business connections to see if there was any interest.
Making introductions for the people you like and care about can become a virtuous cycle where you help the people in your network and they do the same for you.
Bonus Tip: Use technology to your advantage
Having the right technology can make all of the difference! Too often, we get bogged down making introductions because we feel that we need to write long comprehensive emails. But that’s just not the case. Making the introduction shouldn’t be onerous. It can be easy, quick and fun!
Connector Street is a free app that helps you make instant connections. The people that you introduce don’t need the app to receive your intro. And, once they open your intro, they can connect with the other person with just one click. The app keeps a record of all of the connections that you make and receive so you can keep track and follow up with all of your contacts without missing a beat. This is the quarantine networking app we need right now.
We’re all at home now. Reach out to your friends and business contacts. Find out what they’re working on and offer to help. Be generous with your introductions and referrals. And don’t forget to share what you’re working on, explain what you need to be successful, and the types of people who could be helpful. Let your contacts help you by making introductions on your behalf.
These are challenging times. Let’s all succeed together.
Andrea Tinianow is a Delaware attorney and founder of the Connector Street app. Andrea is a frequent speaker and Forbes author on a range of topics related to making connections, innovation, blockchain technology and the law. Watch Andrea’s TedX talk on The Power of Making Connections or connect with her on LinkedIn.