“The key to successful networking is building and maintaining relationships.’” — Alexis Andra, Founder of Shift Creative
Networking can feel really scary and hard right now, especially if the only person you’ve talked to in person this week is yourself. But just because IRL networking events aren’t happening, doesn’t mean the relationship building has stopped. In fact, now more than ever, people are craving community and connection. It’s a great time to whip out those virtual business cards and get connecting!
Not sure how to start? That’s where Alexis Andra, the founder of The Shift Creative, comes in. She joined us via our Instagram Live series Ask an Expert to share networking tips that you can start using to make connections from the comfort and safety of your couch. Read on to learn how to make the most of your inbox, properly craft a cold email, and form lasting business relationships.
1. Check-In With the People You Already Know
“Networking is possible, even if it’s not in real life.”
“We are still able to connect by using people we know currently and the people we have in our network now.”
“It’s so important to not just think of networking as an in real-life experience.”
“I reached out to old clients and said ‘I know things are chaotic’ and asked how can I support.”
“Think of creative ways you can build and invest in that relationships so I get referrals in the future.”
“Serving your current clients now will present future opportunities for you.”
2. Warm-Up Before a Cold Email
“You need to be strategic in who you are reaching out to now who is not your current client”
“I find it is so much more important to warm up an individual or company before you send them a cold email.”
“Before you hit send, comment on their photos, engage on their stories, liking is not enough, you have to engage. You are being intentional and strategic so when you do reach out they are familiar with you.”
“We need to invest in them if we want them to invest in us.”
“The key to successful networking is building and maintaining relationships, but a lot of times, we look at it as, What’s in it for me?”
“A lot of times, we come in trying to sell when we need to serve.”
3. Inventory Your Inbox
“Utilize your email list. You have people in your inbox that are dying for connection and are yearning for community.”
“So many times, people are scared to put themselves out there, but really, what is there to lose? You email someone and they don’t write back?”
“Many times we wait for people to approach us. If we take the initiative, how different will that look?”
“I’ve been feeling lonely and like I need a community. I think this a really important time for us to connect in a different way. It might feel uncomfortable to do it digitally at first, but that’s okay.”
4. Host A Virtual Event—and Make It FUN!
“You’re making connections, building relationships with people, and now its time to put something together.”
“For your event try:
- Creating a theme.
- Mailing party favors.
- A cooking or DIY event.
- Setting up décor or installing a virtual background.”
“The goal is community. We say it’s networking, but I want to reframe that into community.”
About The Expert: Alexis Andra is the founder and principal designer of The Shift Creative, a design and fabrication studio in Southern California. From design to execution, they create branded photo backdrops, experiential activations, and stage designs all specific to the messaging and aesthetic of their client. Alexis has worked with various clients including PopSugar, Live Strong, Nike Women, TED, Michaels, and Create & Cultivate. She has been featured on MarthaStewart.com, LaurenConrad.com, ELLE Decor, San Diego Magazine, and more.
This article originally appeared on Create&Cultivate.