How I network in the time of COVID-19

I was talking to a founder earlier today about networking in the time of COVID-19 and he suggested I write a post about it.

Before the pandemic hit, I was out there every week, attending events, meeting new people and networking all over the US. I even ran a tech-focused group in San Francisco for about 4 years.

When the virus hit, it all suddenly went away. At first, I didn’t think too much of it, continued to talk to people via social media, video calls and emails.

But as the situation continued, I started feeling the itch again, to meet new people, explore new ideas and just network. I tried to go to a few industry-specific meetups that were now happening virtually, but it just didn’t cut it. They were usually centered around a speaker, or got polarized around a common topic, or, worse, they got dominated by someone very loud, with poor listening skills.

So I dropped that, too.

I later discovered Lunchclub. They apparently started out as an in-person networking network (ha!), but COVID-19 had them pivot to online only. The way it works is:

  • you sign up, fill in your profile and interests, set your location
  • you select time slots that work for you. Make sure to block out the work-calendar, too
  • you get matched every week with someone new, based on your interest
  • you meet at the agreed-upon time. Or reschedule
  • you provide feedback about your match

They have a points system, with which you can have more choice when it comes to meeting certain people from certain areas. You can earn points by inviting other people to the network. Clever.

My experience with them, after 5 meetings, has been mostly positive. Three of the meetings have been extremely relevant, two so and so. But all have been interesting people with cool projects, life stories and ideas to discuss. I surely wasn’t bored on any of the calls, which is not what I can say about some networking events I used to attend in person!

It’s not the best time to be out there networking in-person, so this has been my approach to date. Looking forward to getting back out there without the fear of deadly infections arising from any larger event.

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

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