Networking online is a great thing. It helps you stay connected with your peers and can make working from home a little less lonely. However, there are some pitfalls to networking online.
On the internet you don’t have face-to-face interaction with people. You also have a larger amount of people to deal with at any one time. Most of the people you’ll meet are anonymous and this anonymity can often create a feeling of freedom in people. Meaning they may not moderate the things they say and often times may behave completely different to how they would behave offline. This can lead to a lot of negativity and often harshness.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid the negative situations that sometimes creep up in the online world.
#1 - Find the right networking group. If you love to visit a specific forum but find that you always leave there feeling worse than when you first logged in, it may be time to cut your losses and find a new group.
Some forums can be very exciting and fast moving but that also tends to draw a large variety of members. At the worst of times, people may get insulting or downright mean. This isn’t really a situation you want to be in, specifically when you need to stay positive in building your business.
The bottom line here is that if you don’t feel good, you should move on. Listen to your gut instincts about what you’re feeling and don’t worry if the specific forum seems to be “the place” to be – if the negativity is too much for you, you’ll be better off building your network elsewhere.
#2 - Read between the lines. Often times, when people write online what they say can be misinterpreted as “harsh” or “negative” when it may not be the case. Remember, online we can’t see people’s gestures or facial expressions so it may be worth not reading too much into what someone is saying.
If you’re in doubt you can always ask them to explain what they mean. You may find they didn’t mean to sound negative in the first place.
#3 – Find a mastermind group. Mastermind groups can be a comforting place to find support and build a strong network, as long as you choose a group of like-minded individuals. Researching and taking the time to find the right mastermind group is worth the time, as the right group may help your business grow in leaps and bounds.
A good mastermind group is worth its weight in gold. You’ll be able to connect with people who are positive and there to help each other. The negativity and playground games get left behind and you can get down to the business of building your business.
#4 – Ignore the situation. There is always someone who ruins it for others. Take the strength away from negative types by simply ignoring them. Enjoy your networking group and look over the few bad apples. With any luck, they’ll get tired and go find a different playground to spend time in.
#5 – Build yourself up. Negativity can be found everywhere we look for it. So perhaps it’s time to look the other way – to positivity. Work on yourself first by visualizing and living the life you want to live. Stay positive about your business and you’ll attract more like-minded people your way, making the negative ones seem insignificant.
About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.