It’s said that eyes are the window to the soul; it’s hard to make eye contact during online networking so we cannot see into people’s souls; however, the screen does give us a window to their minds.
I was on a meeting the other day and one of the attendees, after giving his one-minute pitch, could be seen looking to one side and concentrating on what I assume was another screen and typing away. He was so intent on what was on his other screen that had I said “Hey Mr xxx you are a complete idiot” he would not have heard. When he gave his presentation, I thought oh he might be able to help my friend’s businesses. When I witnessed his behaviour during the rest of the meeting, I realised that he was only interested in helping himself and had no interest in others.
That was perhaps the most extreme example I have seen, unfortunately there have been many more times when I have seen similar, but less extreme behaviour, people switching off when others are speaking; how arrogant to expect them to listen to you and then not having the common decency to listen to them. People constantly checking their phones is also a bugbear, by all means use your mobile to connect with someone who is in the meeting on LinkedIn, but don’t spend all your time focused on your mobile rather than on the people talking.
Words are only part of communication; actions are also important. During an online networking meeting you are seen for a lot longer than you are heard, make sure you don’t sabotage what you said by what you do.
Just like a dog is for life not just Christmas, networking is for the whole session not just your pitch.
I wonder when we go back to physical networking whether that guy will get his laptop out and start working after he has given his one-minute pitch.