The current situation and tragedy of the pandemic have forced individuals to live in the virtual world and stay connected via cell phones and PCs. To thrive in such time, we should learn and see how we can strengthen connections and foster meaningful relationships.
It is evident that a strong professional network can have a huge impact on your career success. Networking will improve your interpersonal skills and further enhance your ability to stay updated with the trends. You can ace your marketing game in the industry if you focus smartly on your network.
Building positive network virtually can be challenging. Many problems may arise due to physical proximity when working in a virtual zone:
1) Diminished sense of commitment: When people talk to each other only regarding work as the physical network gets weak, they start losing interest and a feeling of connection with the organization and its employees. But the fact is, while working virtually, commitment is needed more than usual. Such reverse effects lead to inefficiency.
2) Digital miscommunications: People often interpret the plain language as a negative tone when texting or emailing unfamiliar people or in some cases with senior colleagues. The other person might have no such harsh intentions, but perceiving the exact tone becomes difficult while networking virtually with people. Many people don’t know how to give a positive impression during virtual interactions.
3) Increased distractions- Virtual meetings and online conference calls are often dogged with long-winded discussions, unfocused participants and other distraction problems. These stones in the way hinder organizational planning and increase the likelihood of poor decisions.
Types of Networkers
- The comfortable networker: They are generally the ones who are comfortable initiating a conversation like “Hey, I see you are new here. I’m Gary. Pleasure meeting you.”
- The silent networker: Also called the introverts have no clue how to initiate a dialogue and even have trouble what to say next.
- The distracted networker: Often lost in their own world, such people have no clue what’s going on most of the time. After a meeting, if you ask them to give a brief, there are high chances they’ll fall short of words.
- Arrogant networker: The only one who is interested in work benefits from you and will disappear after that. Such people rarely have good connections in the organization.
- The perfectionist: These are the kind of people you’ll want to be like (or maybe you are already one of them). The ones who are well balanced personally as well professionally. Perfectionist doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t commit mistakes, but they are likely to resolve it smoothly and make everyone admire them.
Strategies for building effective networks
When firms move to remote working managers and employees must act to keep their connections positive and productive.
#1. Set Achievable Missions and Be Goal-oriented
People who are goal-oriented (perfectionists) are driven and motivated by purpose. They stay inspired to achieve tasks, have access to information, and influence others, wherever they go. Such people are an asset to the company because they always come up with systematic approaches. They are also likely to manage their personal relationship and social networks well than others.
#2. Nurture Reliable and Genuine Relationships
Many people fail to understand that it is much better to have a couple of individuals who are sincere than having dozens of passionless individuals. It is not about the quantity but quality that can set an individual, business, or industry on the top.
Networking should aim at cultivating genuine, and reliable relationships.
#3. Act as a Network-Broker
There are times when there is barely any communication happening in the network that raises the disconnected feeling. As such managers should act as network-broker and stay in touch with those who aren’t in the closer circle. Connecting with such individuals can develop a sense of belongingness in them and the organization can benefit positively from them. If the managers do not have enough bandwidth to do so, they should assign someone who can take care of the same.
#4. Be an Active Listener
Try to pay attention to what people are saying and observe their body language. It should feel like you are engaged with them and are receiving every word they are passing on to you. Most importantly, provide appropriate feedback: be open and honest in your responses.
Poor networks can cause mayhem while good networks can lead to a higher sense of empowerment and achievement. Virtual networking is all about making the most out of different mediums to connect individuals, and adding value to the business/organization by balancing work and relationships.
If you or any co-worker is having trouble establishing healthy relationships at your workplace despite trying your/their best, there may be many reasons behind it, that you/they might have failed to consider. Talking to an emotional therapist on The Wellness Corner may help you be more conscious and fix those problems in an organized manner. You can be a perfectionist too, you just need to take the right steps, that too, one at a time.