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Networking in an online world

By: Rochelle Prasad

My Networking Experience during an online UN forum, Organized by UNDESA and UNITAR, of the 2021 SDGs Learning, Training and Practice

From July 6th to July 12th, I had the opportunity to participate in an online UN forum called SDGs Learning, Training and Practice, as a UNA-Canada Service Corps delegate. This forum has been known in the past to be an impactful, and collaborative, in-person session for leaders across the globe, who are looking to advance the SDGs in their own work worldwide. In saying this, there was a slight obstacle this year, and this was that the forum was completely online in webinar formatting. So, was it still impactful? Yes!, was it still a knowledgeable takeaway? Yes!, and was networking a different framework altogether, definitely a yes. Now the next question is, how was I able to make my online experience a networking success?! Here are some tips and tricks to what I found most useful.

The Chat Function This has to be one of the most underrated features during a virtual event, yet the most impactful way to connect with others at the event. The best way to get your name out there, while being open to connect with others is to share the following in a single message: the place you are calling from (do not forget land acknowledgments), your appreciation about the event, and your willingness to connect! Here is an example message template: Hey my name is Rochelle, calling in from the traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and I have to say, this is such a great event! If you’d like to connect with me, I would love to connect with you via LinkedIn:

The best way to place your “connection” message is to wait mid-way through the event, or right before the panel portion of your event. Also do not be afraid to side message/ dm one of the panelists during their turn at an event, in an effort to connect.

Taking Notes Do not forget to enjoy the event, and take some courteous notes for yourself. This is not only important for your learning, but will also help deepen networking and connections after the event. In addition, feel free to ask others from your delegation, and or a connection from the event if they would like to be added to a google doc, where notes will be shared. And or ask others to a note-taking session with you which can be a transition into a debriefing session. Lastly, remember sharing is caring! Feel free to share notes in a blog post, or LinkedIn/ social media post. Tag the panelists if necessary and or event creators.

Debriefing the event Reach out to people who have attended the event, ask them to debrief with you if they’d like, and or after connecting with others, and in order to grow that connection, plan a virtual coffee meetup, grab a cup of coffee or tea/ a drink of your choose and facilitate a group debrief. This is an awesome way to get to know your network, and to test out your virtual networking event planning skills.

Hoping these tips and tricks helped you to look into other ways to connect, in an online world! Look out for these methods, and try to use them at your next virtual event, you won’t regret it.

A quote for you to take away: “Your network is your net worth.” - Porter Gale


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