Gone are the days when professional networking was a simple affair — signing up for a mixer, slapping on a name tag with a witty quip, and introducing yourself to a room full of prospects over cocktails. Enter Zoom networking, a virtual maze of 2D squares where you're tasked with forging meaningful connections with strangers.
Zoom networking can feel daunting, given that studies indicate our brains recognize faces more effectively in person than on-screen. Coupled with the universal Zoom fatigue, it may seem like the last thing you want to do after a day filled with virtual work meetings is to attend a digital mixer where you're, well, more of the same.
Despite these hurdles, professional networking remains pivotal for career growth, friendships, and expanding your horizons. Thankfully, Warmly, an innovative connection tool that strives to inject humanity back into conversations, has some answers.
Dress to Impress (From the Waist Up)
Look professional, as you would for an in-person event. While no one can see your shoes on Zoom, make sure you're well-groomed and stylish from the waist up. Avoid blurred backgrounds if your home is chaotic; they're distracting and may raise eyebrows. Instead, use a virtual background or, if you're feeling extra, invest in a green screen or a ring light.
Let Your Background Do the Talking
Warmly’s product, Warmly Nametags, is a free Zoom app that provides auto-generated virtual backgrounds, offering more context about meeting participants. This feature is in response to the 74% of professionals who admitted to researching a person while talking to them, as per a Warmly survey. With these customized backgrounds, your credentials, hobbies, or a fun fact about you can serve as conversation starters, allowing you to draw people into your orbit.
Embrace the Cyborg in You
Rather than resenting technology for the challenges it poses, harness it to your advantage. Pre-event, join relevant social media groups and engage in conversations. Warmly's Zoom add-on provides valuable insights about other attendees from within Zoom itself. Missed a chance to connect? Don't sweat it. Add them on LinkedIn or send them a personalized email referencing the event.
Common networking missteps, such as forgetting to exchange contact information or failing to follow up, apply to Zoom networking too. Warmly's add-on allows you to save connections with a single click, storing a record of everyone you connect with, thus making follow-ups effortless.
With Warmly's features, you can recreate the charm and effectiveness of in-person networking in the virtual world. CEO Maximus Greenwald notes that while it remains easier to know someone in a live setting, Warmly's ultimate goal is to keep meetings fun, light, and authentic, allowing users to share who they really are without the constant pressure of being “on.”
In this digital age, Warmly is your ally, making virtual networking as seamless and human as possible.