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How to Network While Practicing Social Distancing

As a dedicated introvert, networking is a skill that I struggle with. Having had root canals, I actually think those are preferable to networking, because I can’t talk at all while the dentist is fixing my teeth!

Now that we are all trying to practice social distancing, networking – which by definition requires some sort of contact with people – seems impossible. But it isn’t.

Here are a few tips for networking while staying more than six feet away from anyone else.

  • Find online platforms: Make yourself present on online platforms specific to your field and any affinity groups you belong to. You can also add a link to an online platform to your e-mail so that your e-mails do the networking for you.
  • Attend gatherings virtually: Many organizations are still holding conferences, workshops, and meetings, but virtually instead of in-person. So, the need to be socially distant does not mean you cannot attend, nor does it mean that you cannot present.
  • Use social distancing as a reason for one-to-one contact: Attending standard in-person social events is out, so use social distancing as a reason to send a here’s-what-I’m-up-to-and-how-are-you e-mail to a prior contact. Or, go retro and call someone on the telephone.
  • Line up your we-can-stand-next-to-each-other events now: At some point in the (hopefully not too distant) future, socializing as we’d known it will return. Find in-person events and put them on your calendar now so that you’ll be ready when we can actually see each other again.

And I’ll practice what I preach by virtually introducing myself: I’m Elizabeth – it’s nice to meet you!

Elizabeth Slack is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She grew up in Maryland, earned BA and MS degrees in the Midwest, and saw more of the world in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. After working for state government, she landed at Florida State University. Now a Grants Manager in Sponsored Research Administration, Elizabeth is responsible for helping faculty and staff with external funding. Among her proudest achievements is co-creating an award-winning form. During her time off, Elizabeth enjoys spending time outside in sunny Florida with her family.

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