Friday, May 24, 2013

Networking Tips for Telecommuters

Recently, there has been much talk in the media about the benefits and drawbacks of telecommuting. Despite some high-profile companies scaling back, continued growth in telecommuting is still projected.

Networking is one of the biggest challenges of telecommuting, but it is certainly possible with some extra effort and planning.
  • Mix things up a little by working at a cafĂ©, coffee shop, or bookstore once a week. You never know who you might meet by simply being out and about, and you’re still being productive.
  • Join a networking group like MeetUp. This worldwide organization, with over 13 million members, brings together those with similar interests, in areas such as photography, music, entrepreneurship, travel, general business networking, and much more.
  • Make a habit of going into the office periodically. Occasional face time is important, and it’s an effective way to build relationships with your co-workers and clients. Additionally, use teleconferencing tools, such as Skype, as another way to stay tied to colleagues.
  • Join LinkedIn, with over 200 million members in 200+ countries. Build a profile and start by connecting with people you know. Then, ask them if they are able to help you connect with contacts who best mesh with your needs and interests.
The thought of networking makes some people cringe; it can all seem so self-serving and phony. If that’s the case for you, try changing your perspective a bit. Try networking at events and online without expecting anything in return, but rather, with the goal of helping others. It can take the pressure off, yet you may still end up meeting valuable contacts and advancing your career.

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