How to online network in additive manufacturing
The additive manufacturing industry is normally full of networking events, trade shows and meet-ups. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a lot of these events have moved online. While it’s easy to attend an online webinar or talk, how do you make the most out of general online networking and actually interact?
We share some of our advice, to get you on track for online networking in additive manufacturing:
1. Make a good impression
A good impression is as important online as offline.
Make sure you present yourself in the most professional manner; if you are using LinkedIn to network and connect with people, make sure your profile and photo are up to date.
If you attend virtual networking events, dress professionally even though you are sitting at home. Virtual networking events can be tricky if you wish to make conversation and actively participate. Lagging connections or multiple people attempting to speak at the same time can come across as interruptive and rude. Make it known that you wish to interact and let the moderator steer you into the conversation.
2. Keep in touch
Success in online networking isn’t about having a large number of connections that you will never speak to. Being selective with who you connect and taking the time to find the right people and strike up a conversation can yield more successful long-term connections.
3. It’s a two-way street
Don’t just turn to your network when YOU need them. Give something back; share interesting news, comments and posts and ask how you can help. You want to be seen as a resource to others. When you then eventually ask for help, be specific and not pushy.
4. Choose the right channel
LinkedIn is the natural choice for a lot of people when it comes to networking. But keep your eyes out for other channels like online communities, LinkedIn Groups, forums and joining virtual conferences and events. Building a digital presence across several platforms may help you build your ‘personal brand’ and increase the chances of people recognising you, digitally.
Check out some forums and groups listed here: https://all3dp.com/2/best-3d-printing-forums-boards-and-groups/
5. When you can, take it offline
We will meet again, after Covid-19. There will be conferences, networking events and meetups – eventually. When it is possible, take your networking offline to strengthen your relationships. It may be as simple as chatting over a coffee or taking a break at an event you’re both attending.
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