Not everyone enjoys virtual networking. Some people find it difficult and excruciating, especially if you’re technologically challenged. Even if you’re an extravert, there are times when you’re tired or don’t feel like getting online and networking with anyone.

Sometimes you don’t feel like putting yourself out there, and there’s a networking event that you have to attend. You’re zoomed out, but you have to go.  

However, you can make it easier on yourself by changing your self-talk, using these helpful tips.

You’ve had enough

Maybe you’re feeling a bit burnt out, a bit over it, and you don’t want to attend. Sure, if you’ve been doing a lot of them, maybe you do need some time off. However, if you’re feeling negative about the whole thing, step back and take a strategic perspective. What’s the opportunity cost of not going?

Maybe there’s a connection opportunity for you online that could make a difference to you. Perhaps it’s the important connection you’ve been looking for. Instead of being their perfect referral partner moving forward, you decided to skip it this week.

Maybe there’s someone there that you could help and you would miss out on that opportunity.

Make a deal with yourself. Get online, be your best self and then connect with all the attendees if you can. Figure out how you can help them. Best of all, you won’t be left wondering what might have been.

“It doesn’t feel right.”

Networking online can be like watching TV: you don’t feel connected in the same way you do in person. Have a look at how you’re approaching the virtual realm. Do you hang back, switch off your video and mute yourself. Do you make the most of the opportunities there might be?

Get a grip, get engaged, look like you’re paying attention and make eye contact. Let other people talk while you actively listen. Focus your attention on the other person and not how self-conscious you feel, and your engagement will be noticed.

“It doesn’t feel real.”

One of the aspects of networking online people dislike is the inability to feel part of a group and the disconnect from “reality”.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

Sure, you’re online to network. Make it your mission to find something else you can do to connect with the people in the meeting and follow up afterwards. It doesn’t have to be about work; in fact, it will be easier to make a genuine connection if you find a common interest.

If you see a great introduction or elevator pitch from someone at the event, try to get their contact information. Then, send them an email and let them know how great it was.

Finally…

Virtual networking doesn’t have to be a chore: you can do it on your own terms and make more meaningful connections. Make it your goal to help at least one person you network with to give it a purpose and make it more enjoyable.

There’s nothing like a little challenge to make things more enjoyable.

What do you do to stay engaged?