11 Mistakes to Avoid While Networking Remotely

With remote and hybrid work environments, it’s vital to continue sharpening your virtual networking skills. There are no longer water cooler conversations or lunchtime chats. Connecting with others and forming a mutually beneficial community takes a lot more effort virtually. It is a conscious decision you need to make to grow professionally, yet a silly mistake can easily affect your brand negatively. 

Sharpen your remote networking and become a pro by avoiding these mistakes:

1. Distracting Background

It may seem obvious that a clean workspace makes for a productive space. Yet, your home office was not set up by the corporate designer. Open a virtual meeting room where you can see your video. Then, adjust your office space as seen from that view.

For instance, you might want to move away from any window views. It might be lovely, but a stray bird, squirrel, or neighbor walking by can take someone’s attention away from you. Also, be aware of what you hang on the walls. A collage of family pictures may be uplifting for you, but a colorful array may be distracting for potential connections.

2. Lack of Accessibility

Everyone has various levels of technical aptitude. Make sure the platform you choose to network on is easy to access. Sending a paragraph of instructions to join a video conference is daunting and tedious for anyone. Try trial videos with your family members to see what you can do to streamline the process. 

Accessibility also relates to individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. Anyone can be a quality connection, but if your remote platform bars them from communicating, the relationship ends there. Check settings on Zoom, Teams, Slack, or any other platform you use to ensure they are accessible.  

3. Limiting Methods of Communication

If someone can only contact you by email, they may feel like they are missing something in your connection. You may feel it’s too overwhelming to maintain more than one form of communication. However, limiting your platform also limits who you reach. Find tools, apps, or organizers that track your platforms, people, and when you last contacted them. 

4. Forgetting Time Zones 

A simple but devastating mistake is forgetting remote networking means connecting to people around the globe. No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night because someone messaged them. Set timers on your emails to accommodate the release schedule to fit their time zone. Make sure to clarify meeting times with the appropriate time zone so everyone is on the same page and makes the meeting time a priority. 

5. Forgetting to Cultivate Relationships

Networking is all about creating a community of support. You may think the more new connections, the better. Yet, there may be plenty of connections you have already. Cultivate relationships by chatting more than once, avoid overly pitch-focused conversations, and remember to focus on natural human connection. Try to find a balance between selling yourself and holding a conversation. Above all, avoid reaching out only once. The more you consistently work at networking remotely, the better you will become. 

6. Dominating the Conversation

Your passion and excitement to share your business or skills are commendable. Yet, don’t let your voice dominate the conversation. Remember that the person you are reaching out to is looking for help just as much as you. Take an interest in their profession or business and what you can do for them. 

7. Jumping to Your Ask

Networks can do wonders for professional development and climbing the corporate ladder. However, jumping to your needs can come off as rude. You wouldn’t want your friends to only call you up when they need something. So, give the conversation time to warm up to your ask. 

8. No Clear Ask

On the other hand, you want whatever favor you ask for to be clear and attainable. Slipping into fun conversations for an hour may not give you the benefits of networking. Remember the purpose of establishing a relationship with them. Will they give you more connections down the line to people who can sponsor or advocate for you? Are they a potential mentor? Can you refer potential clients to each other? 

9. Requesting Follow/Connect Without a Message

Clicking the connect button on LinkedIn or the follow button on Facebook might seem like the easy way of remote networking. However, clicking a button won’t give them context to who you are or why you are reaching out. Remote networking is like stepping out onto a busy street and trying to talk to a passing stranger. They won’t stop if you only hand them a pamphlet. So, engage with them in a conversation to get them off the street and into your store. Find a successful follow-up strategy here.

10. Only Networking With Executives 

Executives and senior personnel are good networking opportunities, but they should not be the only people in your network. If you attend every networking event targeting only the executives, the rest of the room will feel you’re ignoring them. You never know where the next opportunity can come from or who knows who. Ignoring the benefits of a diverse networking crowd can close doors, and miss out on enriching learning opportunities. 

11. No Reciprocation

Networking is not only about what someone can do for you. Reciprocating a favor they did for you will show care and investment in their partnership. Even better, offer to do something for someone first to prove you’re not self-serving. 

Tired of paying out of pocket every time you attend a networking event? A year of unlimited networking events all around the globe might sound like a dream. But, here at IAW, you can live that dream! Our members have access to weekly networking events all around the globe with professional women. No matter what time zone you live in, there is something for you!

Check out our events here or find out more about our membership here.

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