How a Pandemic Enhanced My Business Network
by Robin Sacks
While having a Zoom meeting with a collaborator last week, she made the comment that our new project was a 'Covid baby.'
The odd phrase took me aback for a moment - then I realized what she meant. I also realized that I have had several 'Covid babies' this year.
It was because of the lock-downs that Sylvie Lui and I met. When lock-downs first began worldwide, Sylvie (who is in the UK), like many of us, looked for ways to continue to "show up" and share value. She did this by hosting several free webinars teaching the things she knows best. I came across one of those early webinars while perusing LinkedIn one day.
I enjoyed her topics, attended a couple more webinars, and made a point to participate when she asked for thoughts or questions (simply sharing value).
Due to my own "showing up" in this way, she became familiar with my knowledge and approach, and asked me to join her as a guest on an upcoming webinar. I did. Several months later, I am now a part of her online academy, SLVC Online Academy, which launches next month (November 2020).
Continuing to show up during a pandemic created opportunities.
It was because of the lock-downs that new clients came knocking, asking for advice and guidance on how to "show up" online for job interviews, team meetings, and leadership roles.
Remember, things became different overnight for everyone...not just you. While most people focus on themselves in times of challenges, others look for the things that everyone is struggling with 'all of a sudden,' and focus on how to help alleviate those challenges.
The skills that I teach can be applied to those specific instances...so, I began writing and talking about how to use certain skills in those specific situations to "up your game" and stand out from the pack.
That slight shift in direction reached the people it was meant to reach, one, because they were looking for it and two, because I was talking directly to them about a challenge that was real to them right now.
Showing up with solutions to "all of sudden" problems created opportunities.
How do you "lead" when not face to face? How can you persuade? How can you inspire? How do you know if you are "moving" the people listening on the other side of the screen?
There are ways to do all of that, and do it quite effectively. But, until we had to do it in a virtual way, most people never thought about how to do it.
Leading virtually is not something new.
Think about all of the times you have been moved to feel something or to take action because of something you saw on a screen! Whether it was a TV, a cell phone, or your computer; whether it was a speech, an email, or a thread on social media, you have spent most of your life being moved by people and words coming at you through a screen.
Learning how to do that is a skill set - and like any other skill set, it can be learned.
Most of the training I facilitated, pre-Covid, was in person, and the skill sets I taught were mainly to help people who were also communicating in person. However, that went away overnight. Could many of those skill sets be applied to virtual communications, too?
Continuing to show up and letting people know that, what they did well in person, they could also do well virtually was an opportunity to continue to bring value to people when they needed it most.
It was a little mindset shift with a big impact.
Making a small shift in my coaching to teach people how to lead, persuade, and create impact through a screen (because they had no other choice) created opportunities.
If you are ever looking for opportunities, a great place to start looking for them is in the challenges that surround you.
Many people shut down during challenges, simply waiting for them to pass. They wait for things to 'get back to normal' before taking action.
Those who don't wait are busy answering the door, because opportunity keeps knocking.