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The Ultimate Guide to Networking and Building Professional Relationships While Working Remotely and Traveling

Building professional relationships is crucial for career advancement, especially in today’s remote work environment. Traditional networking methods like attending conferences or meetups are getting more difficult due to the pandemic. The silver lining is that the same technology that propelled remote work added some engagement opportunities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will go beyond the seven online and offline actions to enhance effective networking, including exchanging business cards versus exchanging URLs.

Participants’ networking goals will dictate a combination of any of the methods below that will be adapted:

Build Your Personal Brand and Share Valuable Content

In a world where first impressions matter, defining and building your personal brand is critical. It’s essential to showcase what makes you unique, what you’re doing, and what you’re offering. Ensure that your social media profiles represent you in a professional, yet personal light. A strong personal brand also includes exposing your vulnerabilities for an authentic interaction.

Creating and sharing valuable content is one of the most effective strategies to showcase your expertise and thought leadership. Start a blog, share articles from industry publications, and create social media posts highlighting your experiences and accomplishments. LinkedIn is one of the best social media platforms to share your content, as it provides an opportunity to engage with your peers and potential employers. The trick to creating engaging content is to understand your audience and what they’d find of value.

Join and Engage in Online Communities

Joining and engaging in online communities can be an excellent way to find mentors, peers, or potential hires for your company. There are numerous groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Discord where professionals gather to share insights, advice, or network.

Joining an online community allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry, learn about new trends and technologies, and build your personal brand.

Some valuable online communities include:

  • Elpha: a network for women in tech
  • ProductHunt: a community of product managers and founders discussing the latest tech products
  • IndieHackers: a community of indie entrepreneurs building and growing profitable online businesses
  • GrowthHackers: a community of marketers specializing in growth hacking
  • HackerNews: a community of software developers discussing the latest technology trends
  • Women in Analytics: a community of female data analysts discussing best practices in the industry.

Make sure that you contribute to the discussions to showcase your insights and opinions. Direct message other community members and offer to help them in any way you can.

Attend Virtual Conferences and Webinars

While traditional in-person conferences and meetups are not as accessible due to the pandemic, virtual conferences and webinars have emerged as an attractive alternative. Attending virtual conferences allows you to network with other professionals in your industry without incurring travel and accommodation expenses.

Virtual conferences provide an opportunity to attend panel discussions, keynote speeches, and breakout sessions that interest you. You can also join virtual networking events and participate in live chat rooms to connect with other attendees.

Different industries have different kinds of virtual events. Some examples include:

  • SaaStock Remote – an event for SaaS leaders from October 12-15. It includes more than 150 speakers.
  • Sourcecon from September 22-24 – an event for sourcers and recruiters.
  • Panda Conference from October 20 – an event for product designers and UX experts.

Before attending, research the companies and attendees you are interested in connecting with, and familiarize yourself with their work. Prepare what you want to say and have an elevator pitch ready. After the conference, ensure you follow up with the people you meet, whether it’s via email or connecting on LinkedIn.

Join Slack Groups or Start Your Own

Slack is a platform that enables remote teams to communicate and collaborate effectively. Many Slack groups have emerged, creating communities for professionals in various industries. Slack groups facilitate offline and online networking, providing an informal environment to connect with like-minded people.

Provide value to participants and be active in the conversations to show your expertise. Share articles, resources, or even offer advice to others. When you attend local events, be sure to mention them in the Slack group to create offline meet-ups.

A few examples of Slack groups include:

  •’s free community for marketing professionals
  • CodeNewbies which focuses on beginner-friendly coding
  • a Slack group for freelance designers

You can also start your Slack group if you would like to bring a focused community of like-minded individuals together.

Host or Participate in a Virtual Mastermind Group

Participating in a virtual mastermind group is an excellent way to get feedback and support for professional goals. A mastermind group is a group of people who meet regularly to help each other solve problems and set goals. In essence, the community offers a sounding board for new ideas.

You can create and host your virtual mastermind group, where individuals can meet and provide feedback for proposed ideas. Alternatively, you can join a pre-existing mastermind group, where members meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to discuss progress and provide accountability.

Mastermind groups can cover multiple professions, such as entrepreneurs and marketers. Some charge membership fees, while others operate a free membership. Regardless, expect challenging questions and functional support to achieve optimal results.

Attend Networking Events in Your Area

In-person networking events offer ample opportunities to connect with other professionals in your industry. Networking events include industry conferences, seminars, workshops, and even happy hours. Joining industry-specific groups would also be beneficial. Working remotely, it is easy to forget this option, but events can still be found in your immediate vicinity.

To connect meaningfully at networking events:

  • Listen more than you speak. Show interest in what others have to say
  • Focus on the connection, not the transaction
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Bring your business cards and ensure your online profiles are updated and well-presented
  • Dress appropriately and professionally for the event.

Volunteer for Non-Profit Organizations

Volunteering for a non-profit allows you to engage in a charitable cause while networking with other professionals. Non-profits provide an opportunity to collaborate with professionals you might not have met otherwise.

Volunteering for a non-profit organization can also provide a sense of purpose, especially if you’re working remotely.

Non-profits also provide a great opportunity to create a positive impact, which can uplift the community you’re involved in as well as yourself. Volunteering can also help you develop new skills that can be leveraged in your career.

Collaborate on Projects with Peers

Collaborating on a project with other professionals in your industry can be an effective way to grow your network. Collaborations expose your work to a new audience and highlight your abilities.

Collaborating with others can also provide an opportunity to learn from their expertise, which can be valuable to your career growth. To collaborate with other professionals, join virtual hackathons, host design or code jams, or even create your own collaborative project.

Some sites that cater to collaborative projects include:

  • Behance, for designers
  • GitHub, for developers, and coders
  • Devpost for hackathon enthusiasts
  • Freelancer communities such as Upwork or Fiverr
  • Contently for writers.

Provide Pro-bono Work or Consultation

Providing pro-bono work or consultation to a non-profit organization can create a meaningful connection with other professionals. Complimentary work leads to referrals and recommendations, which contributes to building a strong reputation.

Offering pro-bono work can also help you improve your skills, and it could make you accessible for other high-end clients in the long run. Be specific about what pro-bono work you’re offering and why you’re interested in the particular non-profit organization.

Concluding Thoughts

Networking can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the game. Start with one or two tactics discussed above, experiment, and track the results. Be open to the unexpected – someone might offer an opportunity you would have never considered. Remember that networking is a two-way street, and offer value to others wherever possible. With persistence, networking will surely yield career growth and success that will last you a lifetime.

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