What’s the best way to develop professional contacts while working remotely?
You really have to build your brand when you’re working remotely. I’ve used LinkedIn as a networking tool, obviously. But even beyond that—look for other opportunities to meet professionals, whether it’s through national organizations that have local chapters (such as the Project Management Institute) or through professional events in your community.
I volunteer to help with any project within my overall department. It makes the day more interesting and I make some awesome contacts.
Build something remarkable so that people come to you.
I go to online business and digital nomad conferences very frequently. It’s also a good idea to offer free talks, workshops, or skillshare sessions at a co-working space when arriving in a new place. And using meetup.com or relevant Facebook groups to find business-related meetups and events is a great way to get involved.
Never underestimate who you will meet and where you meet them. I have met venture capitalists on the beach, and CEOs in the restaurant next to me.
I also produce a LOT of content for numerous virtual platforms that allows my brand to be ‘out there.’
I think Twitter is good for that, but meeting people on old-fashioned discussion forums has also proven very beneficial to me. Building a strong online profile and “presence” that attracts the right people is of course also something one would be wise to do, but it’s not something I personally put much thought or effort into. I keep meaning to, though!
I’m making more connections now than I ever had. People that I haven’t talked to in a while are reaching out and asking for advice because they’re interested in a remote career lifestyle, too. It’s not surprising that we’re drawn to interesting people and ideas and and my remote lifestyle gives me a unique story to tell and helps me connect with new people.
Volunteer for a wider scope tasks. For example, I lead an industry awards team, run the corporate user forum for one of our major systems, and a few other similar groups. Although in the same company, I end up working with people from many different departments and locations. I’m not as good at LinkedIn or Twitter as I could be—they are not big priorities for me right now.
Meet people and try to help them. You probably have a particular skill that’s common at home but is more unique in another country. Offer to give a talk at a local tech meetup and you’ll make friends easily.
Say yes. Go to that holiday party. Man a table at the craft fair. Run a marathon. Help your neighbor move. If you’re like me, and you don’t love the forced-fun corporate cocktail party scenario, just being part of your community will help you keep developing your network.
Finding other professionals in your field via Slack teams, LinkedIn groups, or even meeting people at professional conferences is really helpful. I’ve met more people while working remotely than I ever did while I was working in a traditional office environment. I think that working at home drives me to make more connections outside of my company.
I don’t know the best way, but whenever I meet someone who works from home, I ask them what they do. It’s always nice to find other remote workers in the area and meet up for lunch occasionally.
Attending conferences within the ambit of your career but not necessarily completely on point; good way to meet adjacent people who may become partners or colleagues in the future.
Meetups at coworking spaces are a fun way to meet others in the same space, or working on interesting, compelling projects.
Joining a mastermind group where you can bounce ideas off likeminded people and work through problems in your business.
I think that utilizing social networks and really understanding how to optimize those tools is important and helpful.
It’s possible to make contacts both online and offline; I’ve met many virtually via social media channels or online communities, but also IRL at conferences, meetups, and socials. I also have a mentor.
One of the best ways to develop professional contacts is to help people with their projects. Pay attention to what others are trying to accomplish and help them succeed.
I started a podcast where I interview people and companies who work remotely, and that has, by far, been the best way to meet interesting people in my professional network.
Reach out to people you think are cool and find a way for your company to partner. If that’s not an option, build rapport on social media. A good policy is to think of something you can do for a person, whether it’s as simple as sharing a useful link or as involved as doing some kind of work for them.
UserGroups, remote pairing sessions, tech clubs.
I would love to know the answer to this question! I am not great at networking or creating those high-level professional contacts that I know grease the wheels for so many. Instead, the vast majority of my clients and freelance work has come through friends and others I met on the road. We keep in contact as friends, we pass clients when needed, and we help each other find and maintain sustainable remote-based work. In this way, the majority of my professional contacts are also friends. I struggle to maintain those more distant (but likely beneficial) professional relationships.
I am not a naturally great networker, but I generally go to at least two conferences per year. Not only do I get to see my coworkers, and sometimes touch base with my writers, but I get to meet new people and hear their ideas.