‘Networking Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint’ — 3 Things You Need To Do Before You Get on the Start Line

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Ekua Cant206
Career Transitions & Career Change Coach

Online networking usually works at laser speed. When we’re introduced to someone online, we usually have just five to 10 minutes to meet someone. 

Yet networking is a marathon and not a sprint. I’ve learned that 5 to 10-minute online speed networking introductions are indeed introductions and not “networking.” They’re just the beginning of the marathon, not the main event. I need to do the follow-up and spend 30 mins to an hour really getting to know that person under no time pressure. With extra time, you’ll find it easier to be curious and to find common ground. 

Now that you’re approaching your networking like a marathon and not a sprint, here are three things to know before you get on the start line.

1. Watch your facial expressions.

You need to be more conscious of how you communicate in the online space compared to in-person networking. It’s easy to be misunderstood or taken the wrong way because technology can never replace face-to-face. 

They say that a smile is universal and really helps to break the ice between two strangers. In the online networking arena, it’s really important to be mindful of the impression that people get of you is both non-verbal and verbal. Your non-verbal communication in the online networking space counts for more than you think. So if you’ve had a bad day or it’s been a stressful day, take a moment and take six deep breaths in and out and listen to a song that uplifts you. Go onto your online networking session with a smile and being in the right energy. 

2. Examine your online profiles.

Your online professional profile is your calling card in the online networking world. So before you embark on your campaign for online networking, look at your online professional profiles reflect on whether they are giving the right impression about you. Do you have a recent professional photo? Is your current position up to date? Do you have the keywords that you want to be associated within your profile?

3. Keep conversations going.

They say that the fortune is in the follow-up. What does this mean? It means that meeting someone once in an online networking event isn’t enough to build a relationship. You will need to keep in touch at least once a month. 

And just because your relationship started online doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way. So if you have been keeping in touch and getting on well, don’t fear meeting up in real life and strengthening your online relationship. Take the plunge and meet in real life! 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Ekua Cant is an author and career coach and employee wellbeing specialist. She is no stranger to career change or transitions and is using her positive style to coach ambitious women to unlock their mindset, gain career clarity and create career success on their own terms. She is the author of a motivational self-help book called, Be Your No.1 Cheerleader, which uses the entrepreneurial journey to encourage active positive self-development. Ekua started her career as a personal assistant to a Director working in the UK Civil Service, working with numerous Government Departments the Cabinet Office, Home Office and left as an IT Project Manager. Whilst working in the Civil Service she founded 2 startups, Layover Adventure and the Hackathon Queen. 

What’s your no. 1 piece of online networking advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!