Online networking is a big thing these days and itÃ‚Â´s very useful. You can literally talk to anyone in the world, expanding your business horizons far beyond what would have been possible a couple of decades ago. Long distance phone calls donÃ‚Â´t have to be a prohibitive cost to networking, not with the online resources available these days!
Online Networking Resources
Instant Messaging: While not the most professional venue, for casual contact, chatting can be a great way to network. This is particularly true of turning a casual acquaintance into a handy resource.
Email: Obviously, email allows you to contact anyone anywhere and is a very useful method of networking with those who are in different time zones. More professional than IM, email can be polished to look quite businesslike, or you can go very casual, depending on the type of contact.
Online Calls: Services like Skype allow you to make free phone calls to anyone who has the program and is usually of pretty good quality. The best part is that these services are usually free for online use, but youÃ‚Â´ll get charged if youÃ‚Â´re calling a landline.
Video Calls: With the advent of online call services, video has also become a valuable method of networking. It allows you to talk face to face, as it were, with someone on the other side of the world. You can see a personÃ‚Â´s face, so you know how they are reacting . . . itÃ‚Â´s far more effective than simply calling someone, though the video is usually slightly delayed.
Conference Calls: Most online phone services allow you to add people to the call, but there are also online services like ConferenceCall.com that are specially designed to accommodate several people at once.
Social Networks: Websites like Facebook and MySpace are designed to let you “meet” and network with other people around the world, or just in your area. While it is very easy to waste a lot of time on these sites, you can also use them quite effectively.
Online networking may be different from what youÃ‚Â´re used to, after all, you arenÃ‚Â´t really face to face with other people, but it allows you to network with far more contacts than would otherwise be impossible. Probably the best way to do this is to simply combine online and offline networking for the best results.