I have a confession to make. Since college, I’ve been keeping a list.
It started with a few dozen names scrawled on a piece of paper: friends, colleagues, and professors I wanted to keep in touch with. I carried that crumpled piece of paper with me for years, adding names each time I met someone who caught my interest. A few decades later, that list has since migrated to the notes section of my phone, where it continues to grow. During a year filled with lockdown and remote working, it’s proved more useful than ever.
While a lot of people have been forced to pivot their networking online this past year, I’ve been doing this for decades. Scaling startups from one city to another, I’ve learned how essential it is to foster connections during times when you can’t be physically present.
With a remote-first future awaiting many of us, this ability to network at a distance is arguably more important than ever. Here are a few hard-won lessons from a lifelong remote networker, including the most important of all: Don’t consider it networking.