1. Notice email signatures
Today there’s more power in the little things we do every day, says J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network. Pay attention to someone’s email signature, which offers clues to their personality—a Churchill quote suggests that maybe they’re a history buff—and provides a way to start a conversation.
2. Stop being transactional
COVID-19 taught us how much other people matter, and many of us find ourselves missing human interaction. This changes networking, says Hoey. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Instead of self-promotion or requests, infuse digital interactions with human moments.
3. Turn your attention
When you reach out to someone, let them know why they were chosen, says Shasta Nelson, author of The Business of Friendship. “You thought of them for a reason—what is it?” she asks. Keep the focus on the other person and why you value them. We all like to feel important, especially when we’re socially distanced.
4. Strengthen current ties
Instead of going wide, network deep, says Nelson. Check in with the people you already know to expand your relationships. Be curious and complimentary. Positive emotions and consistency are what create bonds.