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How to effectively network when you spend all day in your pyjamas.

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​Let’s be honest, we’ve all woken up for work a little later than usual over the past 2 years, grabbed the first item of clothing we can get our hands on…ready to attack the day. We are talking Harry Potter 2 piece pyjama sets (not talking from experience….honest!), the classic tracksuit top and joggers on a cold morning and the good old underwear and suit blazer combo!

In all seriousness, from the feedback I’ve had from candidates and clients in the Insurance market, it seems most of us have benefited from working from home. We’re able to manage our time better, be more focused and even save on commuting costs.

In my personal experience, the novelty of working from home has certainly worn off. It still provides the same benefits, but I’ve missed interacting with colleagues on a daily basis, meeting clients face to face and even networking (as a natural introvert, I’ve even surprised myself with that one!).

Many of us are now operating in a hybrid, office/working from home set up. Most commonly 3 days in, 2 days from home. However, as Covid still looms over us, I’m still hearing of people that are working from home full time and have only been in the office a handful of times over the past 24 months. I guess it’s only natural to feel a little isolated at times, a bit disconnected from the team.

Perhaps you’re missing the office camaraderie, hearing all about the weekend drama your colleague got up to Saturday night or even (getting desperate now), the flavorless office instant coffee you typically only drink at football matches.

How do you get back in the game? How can you effectively network with clients and colleagues whilst working from home?

Have a good Contact Strategy

How often have you actually picked up the phone to an old client or a colleague you previously got on really well with, pre COVID? Emails are great, but nothing beats a good old fashioned phone call.

With clients, I’ve found when I’ve called them they don’t always like to talk business and would quite happily have a 20 minute chat about life, kids or football. Networking doesn’t always have to be formal, face to face and talking shop.

Try to get into the habit of putting regular calls in the diary, so that your contact strategy remains structured and focused, then you can schedule in some f2f time for social stuff.

Book some Online Learning

Days of the week at work can sometimes blend into one, especially if you’re working within a role that you find quite repetitive and monotonous, perhaps getting your teeth stuck into some Online Learning could help you break up the day a little bit. Personal development is great for the mind, even better for the CV! There’s many online courses available, both to improve soft skills, like networking and technical knowledge all whilst interacting with other like-minded people; many are free of charge. 

Luckily at IDEX, our senior leadership team like to invest in our personal development, next week I’m starting alongside a few other colleagues, a 12 month ‘think like a leader’ course in Birmingham run by Mr Martin Robert Hall. I am not sure what I’m more excited for, the course itself or the fact I get a break from hearing Peppa Pig belt out “jumping up and down in muddy puddles….”.

Use Social Media

It seems every year that goes by, there’s more and more social media platforms out there to use, to drum up new business. I downloaded Tik Tok last year, I think I lasted a month and it was then deleted. Just couldn’t get my head round it, one minute you’re watching a tabby cat do sit ups in the street, the next some middle aged bloke belly dancing on screen – as an Insurance Recruiter, I certainly didn’t find the right sort of candidate on there! But that isn’t to say you wouldn’t, it's about finding the right platform for your audience, where do your clients and prospects go to network, what platforms do they use regularly?

It might seem obvious, but how many of you regularly post on Linkedin or reach out to colleagues or old contacts? The more relevant content you post, the more interaction you’ll receive. That could be a video, a blog, a poll (yes, the dreaded poll!) or even going back to basics and just reminding your network of the value you can offer them.

Linkedin now has a brand new facility in the chat function to leave a ‘voice note’. This in my opinion is one of the platform’s best, and most valuable features. Rather than sit there for 10 minutes thinking of a new glamourous sales script to write out to a prospect, you can record a private message (up to a minute in length) to anyone you are connected with on Linkedin. Even dropping an informal voice note to an old friend or associate that you haven’t caught up for a while, can help pick the relationship back up.

These are just 3 simple things I’ve done in order to continue networking whilst working from my kitchen table and I’ll continue this strategy throughout 2022. Happy Networking!

How can IDEX help me?

If you are looking for a new role in the General Insurance space, or perhaps looking to attract talent into your business, please get in touch with me on: drew.crawford@idexconsulting.com.

You can check out my profile here