How to network during challenging times

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By Alaina G. LevineSep. 8, 2020 , 10:00 AM

My email was simple. After the COVID-19 pandemic exploded, I wrote to clients, colleagues, and prospective partners—including conference organizers and staff at professional societies and universities—saying I recognized they wanted to stay connected to the members of their communities in this challenging time. “If I can help you with this,” I offered, “please let me know.” I noted my experience running webinars and virtual events. “I am available to enable your success.”

Over the preceding weeks, my upcoming gigs to give talks about science and engineering careers had dematerialized into thin air as scientific meetings were canceled, university budgets were tightened, and travel was grounded. I saw a huge chunk of my income and immediate future disintegrate into cake crumbs, tears, and fears. My livelihood was at stake. But, I reminded myself, I had something of value to offer—and now was the time to clarify that to my community.

Did I need work? Yes, absolutely. But did others need something, too, to help them weather this unprecedented crisis? Yes, absolutely. We could all help one another.

This is the essence of networking. Networking is not “What can I take from you?” or “ …

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