Have you ever felt the digital ‘Zoom fatigue’ and wondered if you’re the only one struggling with constantly being connected? Well, you’re not alone, countless studies over the past year have shown that everything from mental stress to physical fatigue has impacted us; large in part due to the increase in daily screen time. According to Statistica, in 2020, screen time average was up to 470 minutes (seven hours and 50 minutes).
Recently, a newer iOS update created weekly consumption notifications for users to track and see which applications they use the most in their screen time. Studies have shown a lot of data on the effects of the increase in screen time. Unsurprisingly, much of the increase in media consumption, in particular, has to do with people wanting to be aware of the changing updates on the pandemic.
Despite uncertainty in business and not being able to host in-person events, digital opportunities have been creating innovative occasions for networking over the last year. While companies have certainly adapted, it still has had many effects on individuals across professions and industries. The format of networking has changed with no rule book and it may feel like a minefield trying to navigate this new function of work. It is still possible to create meaningful connections even though in-person meetings aren’t happening right now.
Truly, the pandemic challenged many small businesses and helped test new ways to increase creativity in our businesses. An expert in digital events, Walden Production Resources, Inc. President and Producer Christian Dennik shared, “As the pandemic has changed our lives, people want to connect now more than ever before and we want to create that sense of real community. At Walden, we have still been able to hold keynotes with breakout sessions, and have online features to chat, view, and be a true ‘participant’ in a virtual event experience. As a business, we are constantly finding new ways to create innovative experiences for our clients.” The results and responses from clients of Walden Production Resources, Inc. were incredibly supportive (and in many ways, even more, collaborative than prior events).
How do you network in an age with limited opportunities to meet in-person but still face-to-face?
Below are a few ideas on how-to rethink networking in the age of hours of Zoom, social media and long calls:
- Interact on social media channels, first, without expecting to ‘sell’ or connect on a call right away
- Offer value on your own social channels: free meditation, a content guide, a how-to video, etc.
- Create opportunities/calls to action for new people to reach out to you online via your personal brand
- Host a virtual happy hour event with exclusive opportunities to laugh, interact, and exchange ideas
- Connect with someone after meeting them virtually on social media the same day with a note to remind them how you met each other
Many businesses rely on networking events to help promote their products and services. With the change of format, there are still many opportunities to connect. What have been some of your favorite events or virtual networking formats?