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3 Strategies for Networking in the Post-Pandemic World In the aftermath of the pandemic, many business owners are looking for ways to stay connected. Here are a few key strategies to explore.

By Steve Taplin Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Statistics show that professional and personal networks shrunk by 16% during the pandemic. This is because traditional networking methods have become more complex and time-consuming. As a result, in the aftermath of the pandemic, many business owners are looking for ways to stay connected, and they're turning to online tools to connect with potential customers and partners.

Besides, as communication and collaboration become more prevalent, businesses need to develop software to connect people. This software should automatically create groups of people with similar interests or skill sets, then offer those groups access to shared resources and services. Here are three post-pandemic networking strategies to consider:

1. Shift to in-person networking

One of the best ways to stay connected is to shift to in-person networking. This means that you'll be meeting people face-to-face, a trend backed by 80% of people who said they would like to attend live events in the next 12 months.

It's a more natural way for you to connect with others, and it can help build relationships that will last. In addition, in-person networking can help you learn more about others and their businesses. People are slowly getting back out into the world, so it's time to consider making this shift to live networking events. In-person networking has numerous benefits that include:

  • Increased networking opportunities: In-person networking allows people to connect with others who share similar interests, backgrounds and goals. This can lead to new business deals or relationships that wouldn't have been possible in another setting.

  • More face-to-face interactions: In-person networking allows for a greater level of personal interaction, resulting in better communication and relationships between individuals. This is especially beneficial as it gives rise to social bonds that are difficult to form online or in other digital means.

  • Share your knowledge: When you're in conversation with someone in person, you don't have to be the most experienced in the subject — your presence grants you authority as people often want to hear what you know.

  • Get honest feedback: You receive direct and straightforward feedback when you physically meet people. Unlike email, where you may have to wait for several days to get a response, you get an immediate reply during in-person meetings.

Related: The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Digital World

2. Virtual networking

Virtual networking has become an intelligent way to connect with potential customers and partners. According to The Washington Post, with online tools such as Meetups and Eventbrite, you can connect with people who aren't physically present in your vicinity.

The advantage of virtual networking is that it is more efficient than traditional networking methods. For example, you can connect with people interested in your product or service without having to meet them in person. You can also connect with people who aren't interested in your product or service but who may be able to provide valuable information about it.

3. Hybrid networking

According to a Forbes article, hybrid networking is a type of network that combines the benefits of both wired and wireless technologies. This technology allows users to access information and services in any location, whether at home or on the go. Hybrid networks are becoming more popular every day and are the future of networking according to CNBC, as they offer several advantages over traditional networking. Those advantages include:

  • They're faster: Hybrid networks can move data much faster than traditional wired networks — meaning, you can get what you need quickly without waiting for your connection to improve.

  • They're secure: Hybrid systems are typically less vulnerable to attack than traditional wired systems — meaning, your data is safe from theft or damage.

  • They're more comfortable: Hybrids tend to be more comfortable overall than traditional wire nets, making them ideal for use in busy environments, such as airports or stadiums, where wires obstruct views of surrounding areas.

Related: Effective Networking Requires Mastering These 5 Skills

In the aftermath of a pandemic, it is essential to shift to more effective networking strategies. You need to use technology to connect with potential customers and partners more personally. If you use social media, online forums and other online resources, you can stay up to date on industry trends and find new business opportunities. Additionally, in-person networking is more beneficial than ever. Meeting face-to-face with potential customers and partners can give you a better understanding of their needs and potential business opportunities. Virtual and hybrid networking have many great benefits too, so explore these strategies and see what works best for you in these post-pandemic times.

Steve Taplin

CEO of Sonatafy Technology

Steve Taplin is the CEO of Sonatafy Technology (www.sonatafy.com), a premier nearshore software-development-services firm that provides its clients with expertise in cloud solutions, web and mobile applications, ecommerce, big data, DevOps practices, QA, IoT and machine learning.

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