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There is a common misconception that technology, networking, and older adults don’t mix. There’s only one problem with that notion: It isn’t true! No matter your age, you can become the most effective networker in your area if you want to. All it takes is a commitment to put yourself out there and enact a few simple strategies.
Whether you’re hoping to start a business, launch a nonprofit, or volunteer for meaningful causes, networking is essential to your mission. And Livingston County Consortium on Aging has given you a few practical tips to get you started!
Understand the Importance
Whatever type of organization you are trying to put together or service you are trying to provide in your community, you need people and groups around you for support. Networking presents opportunities for meeting your next business partner, client, mentor, and other individuals who can walk with you through the ups and downs of leadership. When you meet challenges down the road, you can lean on your network to help you through. Plus, it’s fun to meet new people who share similar passions!
Perhaps the best place to start networking these days is online. There are many social media platforms designed to help professionals and community members build the network they need. Create a LinkedIn profile that is optimized to connect you with the individuals and groups who could prove most helpful to you. Rather than simply filling out your profile with all the information you can think of, be thoughtful and make your profile stand out. And take the same approach to platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Along with engaging on social networks, constantly look for virtual events (e.g., workshops, conferences, seminars, etc.) related to your industry or service of interest, and attend as many as you can. Such events are an excellent way to meet like-minded professionals and community members, not to mention learn about your trade.
If you’re starting a business, your network will prove invaluable when it comes to finding workers to help you build and grow your company. That said, if you have trouble connecting with specific types of professionals through your network, you can turn to online job boards. These sites allow you to compare the rates, experience, and reviews of candidates so that you can choose the best professionals for your virtual assistance, web design, and content writing services.
Get Involved in the Community
If your hope is to volunteer at local organizations, now is the best time to start. But even if volunteering isn’t your ultimate goal, it’s a great way to meet new people and make meaningful connections while serving your community. Look for local charities and nonprofits that share your values, and commit to serving at least once a week.
As you begin to meet more people, don’t be afraid to make personal connections. Whether we are interacting with individuals or companies, we all desire authenticity. Being real doesn’t mean that you aren’t professional. Just be your wonderful self when networking, and you will make lasting impressions!
Finally, you must maintain the relationships you build. Use all the tools at your disposal to stay connected to professionals and other individuals. Utilize video chat and phone calls to interact with others, and stay on the lookout for opportunities to arrange meetings and get-togethers—whether in-person or virtual.
You can be a successful networker in your golden years as long as you employ the right strategies. Remember to take advantage of online networking platforms, start serving in the community, and be authentic in your interactions. And of course, work hard to maintain the professional relationships you are building!
Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about the work our organization does for aging adults in the community? Visit livingstoncoa.org today!