We are all feeling a bit burnt out by the pandemic. Globally, COVID case rates hit an all-time high at the beginning of this year. After that, rates have gone in an up-and-down wave pattern fluctuating similar to rates for North America (US & Canada). Both countries now have more than half the population fully vaccinated and death rates are fortunately showing up on a steady downward trend. The bright side here is that more people are surviving and getting through this pandemic, and the future is no longer as bleak as it once was.
What does this mean for you, your business, and other entrepreneurs out there? What does it mean for your networking, whether by organic word-of-mouth through your peers or within organized networking groups in your local area? More people are returning to going out in the world and meeting up with other people in person. This is a great opportunity for those who are eager to get out and return to in-person networking.
It is important that we encourage anyone who is or already has made a successful return to in-person networking to make sure you are doing it under two specific circumstances. The first is that we want you to be safe and also considering the safety and well-being of others as well. Whether it is by maintaining social distancing, mask-wearing, or vaccinations, there are many ways you can increase the safety of yourself and others when going out to socialize in public. The second is that you should follow your local laws and ordinances.
Please note that we are not here to give you medical advice and we strongly advise you to make all of those decisions between you and your local healthcare professionals such as a family doctor or physician. If you are unable to check with a local doctor or physician you can check the CDC for guidelines. Keeping safety and health in mind, here are some great ways you can still participate in in-person networking without endangering your own health or the health of others.
Meeting In Groups
Most networking groups meet at indoor venues such as conference rooms or restaurants. There are ways you can do this and still be safe. For example, some restaurants have people sit at tables that are more spaced out than usual to still maintain social distancing but allow people inside a venue. Make sure that wherever you are meeting, that it is not overly crowded and there is enough room for people to space out. Other businesses will use a temperature gun to scan people as they enter, making sure nobody coming in has a fever, or ask that guests wear masks inside. Everyone has different feelings and opinions on these matters so we also recommend keeping an open mind and respecting other’s boundaries, even if you may feel or think differently about it. After all, if you are meeting up with a group of people to network with then you want to make sure you are making them feel respected if you are to ever share business with them.
Another idea is to hold your networking group in an outdoor setting, for example in a public park. Meeting outside opens more opportunities to have large gatherings while still maintaining a bit of social distancing. While the generally accepted norm is that it is safer to be close to your household family members and try to distance more from outside people to lower your transmission rates, you can still find ways to safely meet those people as well. Concerned before the meeting? Why not have a regular health check of the group you are planning to go meet. Have everyone hop on a Zoom call or group text before meeting to confirm that they aren’t feeling under the weather or showing any sort of symptoms before committing to going out to meet each other.
Stay In Your Comfort Zone
Are you still concerned about getting sick, or getting someone else sick? You might have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to get vaccinated or wear a mask. There are many very legitimate reasons why people want to still treat the coronavirus as a serious concern. Some people may have medical issues or weakened immune systems, or others within their household that they are worried about transmitting an illness.
If you fall under this category, then holding off on going back to meeting people in person might be the best decision for you. When in doubt, trust your instincts. You can still network with others safely and remotely using Zoom calls, social media, internet messaging, phone calls and texting, or an old-fashioned letter in the mail. We hope to see the rates of this overly tiresome pandemic continue a declining trend, and that someday soon things can go back to more of like they used to be. People want to start meeting in person again, and as time goes on there will likely be an overflowing abundance of opportunities to do so.
-Guest blog written by Jarett Branch, LeTip HQClick here to see the rest of the Sep 2021 Communicare articles