Best Practices for Networking During a Pandemic

April 8th, 2020
By: Content Staff

For physical, occupational and speech-language therapists, networking has long been a key to finding employment and building a client base, but with the coronavirus pandemic raging, group gatherings, eating out and handshakes are strictly verboten.

Fortunately, modern technology such as Zoom, Skype and LinkedIn makes it easier to network without leaving your home, enabling therapists to create new relationships and strengthen existing ones even in times of social distancing. Here are some best practices from Forbes for networking from the home office.

● Put in the effort. If you want to be top of mind for prospective employers and clients, take advantage of opportunities to reach out, such as emails, social media, webinars and online group chats. Doing so will help you obtain new and updated information more easily since other opportunities, including conferences, happy hours and business travel, are unavailable. Joining an online forum is a great way to learn about new opportunities, offer and receive suggestions and make new connections.

● Stay connected and build goodwill. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job or to add clients, that could change in the future, and if it does, the actions you take today could position you for success. Share free resources from your business associations and employer if possible, and share updates on what you’re doing during the pandemic. Now is a great time to reconnect with former colleagues, classmates and neighbors whom you may not have spoken with for a while.

In addition, asking your clients and professional network if there’s a way you can be of service to them is a good way to stay connected. In the same vein, if there’s something you need from your connections, don’t be afraid to ask. Even if your professional network can’t help you, someone may direct you to a person who can. There’s a heightened sense of community in the air, so by helping and encouraging others, and being willing to accept help from others, we can deepen our existing relationships.

● Learn about your peers and connections. Ask what your colleagues, clients, company vendors and suppliers are dealing with now so that you can determine if there is an opportunity to collaborate across functional lines. The pandemic may have created an opportunity for partnership that wasn’t available before, and everyone loves a problem solver.

● Beware of scammers. Crises bring out both the best and the worst in people, and scammers already have emerged, looking to take advantage of professionals who are urgently looking for work. Do your research about a new contact before providing personal information, and look out for red flags. Sometimes, you may have to let your gut be your guide.

● Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a quick response. While many professionals have a lot of time on their hands during the pandemic, others are overwhelmed and may not have time to engage. Many medical professionals are battling the pandemic on the front lines, and other connections may be struggling to juggle the demands of work and caring for others, including elderly parents and children who aren’t attending school. If a few emails don’t get returned, don’t take it personally; just move on to the next contact.

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