How to Reframe Your Idea of Networking While Living in a Virtual World

Networking can be daunting, right?  Especially when we’re living in a virtual world.  Now we have to figure out how to remain top of mind vs just networking.

Let’s reframe the idea of networking.  It doesn’t have to solely consist of attending events.  Let’s reframe it as “being helpful” and building relationships.  Living in a virtual world, there’s a great opportunity to do that.  It can be through sharing relevant articles that someone might find interesting.  It can be by hopping on a really quick, 10 minute call or video conference.  It can be by sending a quick email to just check in and see how someone is doing.  

There’s a mantra in the Colorado startup scene pioneered by Techstars called #givefirst.  There are some lessons that can be applied to networking.

Here’s their code of conduct regarding #givefirst:

  1. We help others whenever possible.  We are all busy, but when the ask is sincere and realistic, we respond and help.  We are respectful of each other’s time and are clear and focused in our requests.
  2. We deliberately create a virtuous cycle. We proactively work to give back to the ecosystem by giving first to others in our community with no specific expectations of return.
  3. We appreciate the help of others. No one goes it alone – startups are a team activity. We express our appreciation for the help of our customers, mentors, and others that make our success possible.

Applying #givefirst to Networking

If you take the mentality of helping others, of spending those extra few minutes to help a person connect with someone, the benefits will circle back around to you one day.  It might not be immediate, but it will happen.  And a lot of people could really use a little bit of extra help right now.

So as you think about how to start, or bolster, your networking journey, think about it through the lens of being helpful to others.  Of building genuine relationships. Of giving first. And when you give first, you’ll be more top of mind when other people hear about job opportunities.