Networking: How to socialize when you’re stuck at home
The world is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), which is keeping millions of individuals from working, attending school, eating at restaurants, attending conferences, and attending networking events.
It’s enough to make anyone feel isolated, like every method of human interaction is off the table. But we’re living in a unique age where technology can bring us closer than ever before. Whether you’re under quarantine, working/studying from home, or practicing social distancing, there are some great ways to keep networking and connect with friends, family and professional contacts.
For networking: Utilize ConnectBGS
If sharing insights and making new connections is what you’re after, ConnectBGS (CBGS) is the place to go! Besides keeping up with our regular blog content, you can also join in and comment on existing discussions or start your own: click on the “communities” page in the CBGS menu, open the one you want to post to, then click the “add” button (at the top of the “latest discussion posts” section).
Pro tip: log in with your BGS credentials first, or some content and options won’t be visible to you.
For one-on-one conversations: Embrace phone calls and video chats
Even if you’re not usually a fan of phone or video calls, now is a good time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Schedule virtual lunch, dinner or coffee dates with friends and colleagues and share some time “together.” If you’re working from home, this is a great way to reconnect with co-workers you usually collaborate with—and it will break up the monotony of your solo work days. Use apps like Skype and FaceTime to bring you closer to others.
For thought leadership: Attend webinars and online conferences
In person conferences and events are being canceled, but many are going virtual. Here at BGS, we’re looking into what kinds of online programming we can offer—but in the meantime: catch up on your favorite business podcasts, look for webinars and videos from leaders in your industry, and read as much as you can. (If you’re looking for a new book to read, CEO Chris Carosella has a few suggestions.)
For chapters or other groups: Organize virtual meetups
If your BGS chapter has canceled its regular meetings and networking events, try swapping them out for online chats or video calls. Set up online meetings (or “networking happy hours”) with your chapter using services like Zoom or Google Hangouts. To keep things consistent, consider scheduling them on the same days/times as your in-person meetings used to take place.
If all else fails: Take to social media (or at least LinkedIn)
Many social media platforms seem to be perpetuating panic and spreading disinformation, so you may want to avoid them completely for the time being. But if you can get past all the noise (and the cat videos) and use it purposefully and strategically, it can be a valuable tool for combating loneliness.
LinkedIn is a great option—in general, people on this platform keep their content focused on professional topics, like industry insights and career growth strategies. Use it to reach out to new business connections, find potential clients and follow inspiring business leaders (another great resource for thought leadership content).
Humans are social creatures, and this isolation is challenging for all of us. But taking these steps now will ease the burdens on the health care systems, prevent the spread of infection, and ultimately save lives. So use the tools you have available and hang in there—and, please, wash your hands!
Want to read more about keeping connected during periods of physical isolation?
Check out these articles from around the web:
The Atlantic: The Art of Socializing During a Quarantine
Wirecutter: How to Be Social While Social Distancing During the Coronavirus Pandemic
International Lawyers Network: Networking During the Coronavirus Outbreak
The Conversation: Social distancing can make you lonely. Here’s how to stay connected when you’re in lockdown