It’s fair to say that not being able to meet up with people in large groups has kind of put a dampener on the whole networking thing. Those huge events, where hundreds of like-minded people turn up to swap contact details, touch base and swap ideas and thoughts about their specific industry have been reduced to something entirely different. And, while at time of writing, bars and restaurants have reopened and other lockdown rules have been eased slightly, the idea of huge event spaces like the Manchester Central Convention Complex being used to host huge, industry-wide networking events is a long, long way off.
So, in today’s blog, we thought we’d take a look at some ways you can network during the lockdown and the way networking will likely change once lockdown has been lifted (spoiler: it still won’t be completely normal).
Here at Manchester Young Professionals, we’ve been hosting networking events for people across Manchester and we’re determined to keep the connecting going on throughout lockdown. If you’d like to get in touch with the team here at MYP then by all means do! We’re always on the lookout for new networking ideas and are eager to meet like-minded people.
The importance of networking is not lost on James Scholefield, Account Director at Inconnection: “Industry research shows that the predominant driver for event attendance is the opportunity to network and interact with likeminded people. Whilst face-to-face will always be king, it’s so important that the ability for participants to connect and share ideas is at the forefront of thinking when pivoting to virtual. Harnessing technology to build a virtual community, as opposed to just hosting a webinar, will offer true value and a significantly more engaged audience.’
So with that insightful quote at the forefront of our minds let’s look at how you can maintain relationships during the lockdown.
Some Ways You Can Network During Lockdown
Just because we’re all stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t further your own professional network. In a world packed with social media, video tech and instant messaging there are just as many ways to connect with the right people online as there are offline. From Linkedin and Twitter to virtual networking events to emailing there is so much you can do. We’re always encouraging people to network and get in touch so we thought we’d detail a few easy, inexpensive ways for you to reach out to people that might be of interest. In fact, with so much time on our hands, there has never been a better time to send that email or make that call.
Dip Your Toe With A Little LinkedIn Networking
It may seem the obvious place to go and for good reason – Linkedin is the way to maintain relationships! It is packed with millions of people in a tonne of different industries and it’s a fantastic place to keep in touch with people you have met at recent virtual events or ones you met at events prior to Coronavirus.
Find Yourself A Relevant Virtual Event
Everything has been put on hold which means everyone is adapting and looking for new ways to host which means you should easily find a relevant event. From webinars, virtual conferences and roundtables there are lots of events big or small meaning you’re bound to find one that works for you.
Some Virtual Events Manchester Young Professionals Have Got Planned
- Develop yourself with some educational events – On Tuesday 7th July we have a talk with Katy Leeson, Managing Director of Social Chain UK, who will be discussing how to adapt and learn in these unprecedented times. Now more than ever is a perfect time to find out how we should be developing ourselves for the coming months and years.
- Keep yourself fit and active with a virtual fitness class – we’ve been mixing it up here at MYP, from yoga to high-intensity workouts, we’ve got everything you need to ensure that you come out of this period feeling fitter and stronger than ever before. Look out for more Health & Well-being events on our upcoming events page, we’ve got plenty of classes coming up so there’s no excuse!
- Join our Book Club and enjoy a drink or two, whilst chatting through our latest book choices with others within the MYP community. There’s no pressure to read the whole book, you can join no matter how far through the book you are. And with 3 Book Clubs this month, there’s plenty of options to choose from.
What Will Networking Look Like After Lockdown?
Let’s take some time to look towards the great beyond, to a time when lockdown will be consigned to the history books and we can all get back to some sense of normality (remember going outside and meeting people?)… what will networking look like after lockdown? Event spaces across Greater Manchester and the UK won’t just immediately go back to normal, large venues will be the last places to reopen up so don’t expect a traditional networking event.
The rush for you and your team to immediately jump offline may seem tempting but it’s important to maintain a balance of online networking and offline face-to-face. Why? Well, because events won’t be normal for a while so maintaining a strong online presence is important. When events are allowed to take place, rest assured there will be a lot of nerves, so as a company, group or individual be as positive as possible. You can do this by reassuring people that the events you’re going to/hosting will have a high standard of social distancing, sanitation station, adequate ventilation and plenty of entry and exit points. After lockdown, expect a greater control on numbers at events too. We’d advise that you really take your time choosing your next networking event to ensure it is worth your time, you’ll make the most of your time there and it is as relevant as possible to your industry. Don’t be afraid to turn more events down that you go to, in a world where numbers will be limited it is vital you’re picking the right event.
Since 2013, the team here at Manchester Young Professionals have worked hard to get like-minded, industry-focused people together to network, chat and showcase what fantastic talent this great city has to offer. In such a big city we wanted to create a tight-knit community of young people that was progressive, inclusive and offered events that were genuinely fun! We think we’ve cracked it. And, unlike other networking event holders, we don’t run a membership scheme with extortionate fees and expensive corporate packages. Instead, we focus on creating a genuine community packed with talent.
If you’re a young professional working in Manchester and want to network in a community that is welcoming and friendly then get in touch with us here at MYP. Or, if you have any new events, ideas or have helpful suggestions for our network then we want to hear from you! Have a look at our past events to get a flavour of what you can expect when you come to an MYP event.