How to Network Virtually—with Cate Luzio

18 Minutes
Cate Luzio on Women Amplified

Many of us have put networking on the back burner as we waited out the pandemic. And even now, many of us are still working remotely, trying our best to connect over video conference.

But just because we are in this hybrid transition right now doesn’t mean your network has to stop growing. There are still many ways to grow your community, and even some advantages that only exist in a virtual environment.

This episode is a replay of a session from the 2021 National Workplace Summit. Networking expert Cate Luzio shares some of her top tips and tricks for networking virtually, making connections, and nurturing those connections even while social distancing.


Cate Luzio

Cate Luzio is the founder and CEO of Luminary, a membership-based career and personal growth platform and collaboration hub created to uplift and upskill women through all phases of their professional journey. Members are comprised of a multigenerational and intersectional community of individuals, intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, corporations, and organizations. Before starting Luminary, Luzio spent twenty years in financial services leading global multibillion-dollar businesses. Previously, she was global head of multinational corporate banking for HSBC, and before that, she served as head of multinational corporate banking at J.P. Morgan EMEA based in London. She spent her early years in Latin America with Bank of America across both consumer and wholesale banking. She started her career working in tech in China. Luzio is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and in 2020 was named its Entrepreneur of the Year. She has a master’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University. A long-time advocate for empowering women and girls, she serves on the national board for Girls Inc., as a WE.NYC mentor, and sits on the Boards of Pomp & Whimsy and WaterAid. Luzio was recognized as one of Forbes’ Next 1000 Entrepreneurs in 2021 and a Top 100 Female Founder by Inc. in 2019. She has been featured as an expert in top-tier financial, business and lifestyle media and is currently a contributing writer to Fast Company, Business Insider, and Worth. @cateluzio

 

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee Celeste Headlee is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, Heard Mentality and We Need to Talk. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @CelesteHeadlee

 


Additional Resources:

  • Cate Luzio’s Luminary is “a membership-based career and personal growth platform and collaboration hub created to address the systemic challenges impacting women across all industries and sectors.” Learn more about Cate and Luminary at Luminary-NYC.com

More from Women Amplified:


Cate Luzio Episode Transcript

Cate Luzio:

Hi, everyone, and I’m so excited to be here. My name is Cate Luzio. I am the founder and CEO of Luminary, and what I want to talk today about is virtual networking. We have thousands of members around the world, and a year ago we were an in-person space. Overnight, we had to figure out how to touch and reach our community of members around New York, but virtually globally now. Overnight, we had to figure out how to bring our women and our men together authentically and organically, and so much of what Luminary does is help develop connections.

Cate Luzio:

So let me bring it back to a story from 2019, my first Massachusetts Conference for Women. I walk into a space. There are more than 10,000 women and some men, and I felt a little overwhelmed. I feel like a banker for 20-plus years, I’m an expert networker. But what I realized in that 10,000 person conference, and as many of you probably realize, is it isn’t always easy to network in person. Introvert, extrovert, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it feels inauthentic, a little icky, around networking. Throw on a global pandemic, and now you’ve got to do it virtually.

Cate Luzio:

Many of our members and many women that I talk to come back and tell me, hey, I don’t like to network. I feel like it’s a job. I feel like I can’t put myself out there. How do you do it? How do we continue to do that particularly when we’re all on a screen like this? Marian mentioned this is not going away, and for me, I’m actually glad. Not only has it propelled our business to be virtual and global, although I’m sitting in our space today here in New York. I have learned to reframe the word networking.

Cate Luzio:

Networking, as I mentioned, can seem inorganic, inauthentic. It feels like a job, and it is a job, and it’s critical to your personal and professional success. But let’s reframe that word networking. How about thinking about relationship building, joining a conversation, building dialogue, whether that’s amongst your peers if you work in a company, if that’s just creating new connections in a new community or around the world. It doesn’t matter. Reframe that word network, and I promise you it can actually help propel you into a better conversation.

Cate Luzio:

So how do you do that? How do you network virtually? Like I said, this is going to continue for a very long time. Number one is introduce yourself. We are all on different platforms, whether you’re on StreamYard or Zoom or WebEx. There is a function within those platforms that allows you to chat, right? If you work for a company, if you’re part of sessions, you can actually write in that chat. Why not take the opportunity to introduce yourself, who you are, your name, your title, your company, where you work, your LinkedIn profile? If you’re internal, if you’re in an internal meeting, put in your internal email, because I can guarantee, even if you work for a smaller organization, you don’t know everyone that well. So take this opportunity to really introduce yourself and give yourself the ability to connect in a very different way. This removes the pressure of having to raise your hand or speak up even if you’re an expert, networker and an extrovert. So introduce yourself, first thing you should do every single Zoom or virtual session you’re on. It takes less than one minute.

Cate Luzio:

Second, never before, even if you’re at a large event, would you have the opportunity to meet or know everyone’s names. So take a picture. Take a screenshot of, whether it’s one screen, two screens, ten screens, because on that picture, on those multiple screenshots, you will likely see everyone’s name, first and last usually. When would you have that opportunity ever before to have everyone’s names right on there? That doesn’t mean you’re going to connect with everyone, but if it gives you the ability to go back when you have time and say, you know what? I really needed to connect with Cate, I loved what Cate said, or we work in the same company, we’ve never met. It allows you to take it offline and connect at a later date, but with context. Now you have those pictures versus business cards that you will likely lose over time and never remember to connect.

Cate Luzio:

Three, never waste a meeting or a session. Embrace those opportunities to go deep and wide in every interaction that you have, whether you’re talking, you’re raising your hand, you’re asking a question. You can do that live, or you can do that right in the chat. Take that opportunity to talk about what you’re looking for out of that meeting. What’s the purpose of your attendance at that meeting, particularly a session that you don’t know many people? We tend to, when we’re in live events, sit with, talk to people we already know. Part of networking is really breaking down those barriers and learning to meet new people and connect with lots of different individuals, particularly those that don’t look like you or maybe that are in your company or in your sector or your industry. It’s critically important that you seize that opportunity in that meeting to say hello, to follow up, to talk about a later date to connect.

Cate Luzio:

An easy way to do that, like the picture, is actually to save the chat. How many of you have been on hundreds and hundreds of Zooms, you do the Zoom, and then you walk away? There are a lot of platforms that allow you to save the engagement that’s happening on the side. So if you forget to take that picture, if you’ve forgotten to introduce yourself, now you’ve created an opportunity to save that information, to go back to, and to reach out with context. How many of you get a million LinkedIn requests with no context? This is an easy way to give context in any virtual networking session.

Cate Luzio:

The last is really follow up. In any relationship, in any connection, you must follow up. So let’s go back to the business card example. You walk into a session, you walk into a large event, and you take a bunch of business cards. You introduce yourself quickly. There’s a little bit of small talk, but how often do you really intimately connect in that session? You have to follow up after that event. Virtually, you can do that so much easier. You don’t have to put yourself out there. You don’t have to actually introduce yourself. If you’re shy, if you’re an introvert, even if you’re super busy and you just don’t have the time, this idea of virtual networking gives you the opportunity to follow up for many days and months to come. You may join a session and say in three months, you know what? I forgot to connect with that person, I should go back to them, remind them that we met virtually in that event or during that workshop or in that internal meeting, and remind them that you have met just virtually, so let’s connect.

Cate Luzio:

The key to any networking or relationship building, no matter where you are in your career or what you do, is follow up. Review the screenshots, look through the chats, connect with those on LinkedIn, connect with those internally, and say we were in that session together. While it may seem a little awkward at first, you will get the hang of it. I promise you that. The best part about this is no matter who you are, what you do, the playing field has been leveled. We are all in this together, so let’s embrace it, let’s utilize it and leverage it to continue to build these networks well past the pandemic, and definitely better to advance and build your career and hopefully build these networks well outside of where you sit today.

Cate Luzio:

Now, we’re going to take some live questions. So if you’ve been struggling, if you also have some tips to share, if some things have worked better than others, let us know. I’d love to spend a couple of minutes hearing more before you enter into your live networking sessions. So let’s go to the first question.

Cate Luzio:

“For introverts, networking is painful, but these virtual tips seem like they could be easier for someone like me. Any tips for introverts networking virtually?” I understand that. If you can’t tell by now, I’m not an introvert. I’m a bit of an extrovert. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m an expert networker, or at least I think I was. My network has quadrupled in the past year for the sheer reason that I followed those tips, taking the picture, saving the chat, introducing myself, but at the same time encouraging others to do that. Those connections, introvert or extrovert, will naturally occur. That pressure to raise your hand or speak up has now been removed. So leverage this time to do it offline, do it via email, do it via LinkedIn. You can even do it right within the chat and just say hello. You will not have this opportunity for forever, so let’s take advantage of it.

Cate Luzio:

Next question. “Do you have a go-to question for going deep/wide when networking, like an icebreaker?” So the first thing I do in every single Zoom that I lead, and I feel that I’ve led about a thousand over the past year and I’m probably actually underestimating, is I actually challenge whoever’s in that session, five people, two people, five hundred people, to take a moment, pull up their phones, which can seem a little awkward, and take that picture versus taking a screenshot from your laptop or your computer. This actually breaks down the barrier. People go, what is she talking about? Okay, I guess I’m going to take out my camera and take a picture. It’s fun. It takes away a little bit of that pressure. As soon as I see that people have done that, I then encourage them to introduce themselves in the chat. You would be surprised at how many people love to do that. They may not like to talk about themselves in person all the time, but when you put it in a written way, it’s so much easier. You can include your handle if you want people to follow you socially, your LinkedIn, the companies that you work for. It also gives people an opportunity to say why they’re attending that session, what’s important, why are they participating, and I just love everyone holding out their phones because it literally breaks down that wall and people can take a breath.

Cate Luzio:

“If you have one virtual conversation with a person you asked for career advice, how do you follow up with an update and next steps virtually?” Well, first of all, let’s hope you were able to get their email address or their LinkedIn. You’ve had that conversation. You’ve saved it. You’ve said hello, let’s say, in the chat, or even if you were speaking in a virtual conversation. Why not, in a few weeks or a month, depending on what that conversation was about, think about the context. Was there an ask made? Did you tell them you needed something? Then why not follow up? Follow up authentically, but asking them how they are and ask how you can help,. Relationships are a two-way street, just like any good networking. This is not just about you. This is about a broader opportunity to create new connections, and so think of it as, I’m here for something, they’re here for something, let’s make this a win-win.

Cate Luzio:

Last question. “What do you think about short introductory personalized prerecorded videos for cold calls?” I actually have never received one of those, so I would love to get something like that versus just an email for someone trying to sell me something. Listen, we’re all trying to get the attention of others. We’re all trying to raise our profiles, our business profiles. So I actually really like that. We know that video goes a long way, whether you’re on Instagram or TikTok, even on LinkedIn. So I think that’s a new tip that I’m actually going to take away. I think personalized prerecorded videos for cold calls works, all I would say is make sure you introduce yourself and give some context around why you’re making that cold call and why you are using that video.

View Transcript

Cate Luzio:

Hi, everyone, and I’m so excited to be here. My name is Cate Luzio. I am the founder and CEO of Luminary, and what I want to talk today about is virtual networking. We have thousands of members around the world, and a year ago we were an in-person space. Overnight, we had to figure out how to touch and reach our community of members around New York, but virtually globally now. Overnight, we had to figure out how to bring our women and our men together authentically and organically, and so much of what Luminary does is help develop connections.

Cate Luzio:

So let me bring it back to a story from 2019, my first Massachusetts Conference for Women. I walk into a space. There are more than 10,000 women and some men, and I felt a little overwhelmed. I feel like a banker for 20-plus years, I’m an expert networker. But what I realized in that 10,000 person conference, and as many of you probably realize, is it isn’t always easy to network in person. Introvert, extrovert, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it feels inauthentic, a little icky, around networking. Throw on a global pandemic, and now you’ve got to do it virtually.

Cate Luzio:

Many of our members and many women that I talk to come back and tell me, hey, I don’t like to network. I feel like it’s a job. I feel like I can’t put myself out there. How do you do it? How do we continue to do that particularly when we’re all on a screen like this? Marian mentioned this is not going away, and for me, I’m actually glad. Not only has it propelled our business to be virtual and global, although I’m sitting in our space today here in New York. I have learned to reframe the word networking.

Cate Luzio:

Networking, as I mentioned, can seem inorganic, inauthentic. It feels like a job, and it is a job, and it’s critical to your personal and professional success. But let’s reframe that word networking. How about thinking about relationship building, joining a conversation, building dialogue, whether that’s amongst your peers if you work in a company, if that’s just creating new connections in a new community or around the world. It doesn’t matter. Reframe that word network, and I promise you it can actually help propel you into a better conversation.

Cate Luzio:

So how do you do that? How do you network virtually? Like I said, this is going to continue for a very long time. Number one is introduce yourself. We are all on different platforms, whether you’re on StreamYard or Zoom or WebEx. There is a function within those platforms that allows you to chat, right? If you work for a company, if you’re part of sessions, you can actually write in that chat. Why not take the opportunity to introduce yourself, who you are, your name, your title, your company, where you work, your LinkedIn profile? If you’re internal, if you’re in an internal meeting, put in your internal email, because I can guarantee, even if you work for a smaller organization, you don’t know everyone that well. So take this opportunity to really introduce yourself and give yourself the ability to connect in a very different way. This removes the pressure of having to raise your hand or speak up even if you’re an expert, networker and an extrovert. So introduce yourself, first thing you should do every single Zoom or virtual session you’re on. It takes less than one minute.

Cate Luzio:

Second, never before, even if you’re at a large event, would you have the opportunity to meet or know everyone’s names. So take a picture. Take a screenshot of, whether it’s one screen, two screens, ten screens, because on that picture, on those multiple screenshots, you will likely see everyone’s name, first and last usually. When would you have that opportunity ever before to have everyone’s names right on there? That doesn’t mean you’re going to connect with everyone, but if it gives you the ability to go back when you have time and say, you know what? I really needed to connect with Cate, I loved what Cate said, or we work in the same company, we’ve never met. It allows you to take it offline and connect at a later date, but with context. Now you have those pictures versus business cards that you will likely lose over time and never remember to connect.

Cate Luzio:

Three, never waste a meeting or a session. Embrace those opportunities to go deep and wide in every interaction that you have, whether you’re talking, you’re raising your hand, you’re asking a question. You can do that live, or you can do that right in the chat. Take that opportunity to talk about what you’re looking for out of that meeting. What’s the purpose of your attendance at that meeting, particularly a session that you don’t know many people? We tend to, when we’re in live events, sit with, talk to people we already know. Part of networking is really breaking down those barriers and learning to meet new people and connect with lots of different individuals, particularly those that don’t look like you or maybe that are in your company or in your sector or your industry. It’s critically important that you seize that opportunity in that meeting to say hello, to follow up, to talk about a later date to connect.

Cate Luzio:

An easy way to do that, like the picture, is actually to save the chat. How many of you have been on hundreds and hundreds of Zooms, you do the Zoom, and then you walk away? There are a lot of platforms that allow you to save the engagement that’s happening on the side. So if you forget to take that picture, if you’ve forgotten to introduce yourself, now you’ve created an opportunity to save that information, to go back to, and to reach out with context. How many of you get a million LinkedIn requests with no context? This is an easy way to give context in any virtual networking session.

Cate Luzio:

The last is really follow up. In any relationship, in any connection, you must follow up. So let’s go back to the business card example. You walk into a session, you walk into a large event, and you take a bunch of business cards. You introduce yourself quickly. There’s a little bit of small talk, but how often do you really intimately connect in that session? You have to follow up after that event. Virtually, you can do that so much easier. You don’t have to put yourself out there. You don’t have to actually introduce yourself. If you’re shy, if you’re an introvert, even if you’re super busy and you just don’t have the time, this idea of virtual networking gives you the opportunity to follow up for many days and months to come. You may join a session and say in three months, you know what? I forgot to connect with that person, I should go back to them, remind them that we met virtually in that event or during that workshop or in that internal meeting, and remind them that you have met just virtually, so let’s connect.

Cate Luzio:

The key to any networking or relationship building, no matter where you are in your career or what you do, is follow up. Review the screenshots, look through the chats, connect with those on LinkedIn, connect with those internally, and say we were in that session together. While it may seem a little awkward at first, you will get the hang of it. I promise you that. The best part about this is no matter who you are, what you do, the playing field has been leveled. We are all in this together, so let’s embrace it, let’s utilize it and leverage it to continue to build these networks well past the pandemic, and definitely better to advance and build your career and hopefully build these networks well outside of where you sit today.

Cate Luzio:

Now, we’re going to take some live questions. So if you’ve been struggling, if you also have some tips to share, if some things have worked better than others, let us know. I’d love to spend a couple of minutes hearing more before you enter into your live networking sessions. So let’s go to the first question.

Cate Luzio:

“For introverts, networking is painful, but these virtual tips seem like they could be easier for someone like me. Any tips for introverts networking virtually?” I understand that. If you can’t tell by now, I’m not an introvert. I’m a bit of an extrovert. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m an expert networker, or at least I think I was. My network has quadrupled in the past year for the sheer reason that I followed those tips, taking the picture, saving the chat, introducing myself, but at the same time encouraging others to do that. Those connections, introvert or extrovert, will naturally occur. That pressure to raise your hand or speak up has now been removed. So leverage this time to do it offline, do it via email, do it via LinkedIn. You can even do it right within the chat and just say hello. You will not have this opportunity for forever, so let’s take advantage of it.

Cate Luzio:

Next question. “Do you have a go-to question for going deep/wide when networking, like an icebreaker?” So the first thing I do in every single Zoom that I lead, and I feel that I’ve led about a thousand over the past year and I’m probably actually underestimating, is I actually challenge whoever’s in that session, five people, two people, five hundred people, to take a moment, pull up their phones, which can seem a little awkward, and take that picture versus taking a screenshot from your laptop or your computer. This actually breaks down the barrier. People go, what is she talking about? Okay, I guess I’m going to take out my camera and take a picture. It’s fun. It takes away a little bit of that pressure. As soon as I see that people have done that, I then encourage them to introduce themselves in the chat. You would be surprised at how many people love to do that. They may not like to talk about themselves in person all the time, but when you put it in a written way, it’s so much easier. You can include your handle if you want people to follow you socially, your LinkedIn, the companies that you work for. It also gives people an opportunity to say why they’re attending that session, what’s important, why are they participating, and I just love everyone holding out their phones because it literally breaks down that wall and people can take a breath.

Cate Luzio:

“If you have one virtual conversation with a person you asked for career advice, how do you follow up with an update and next steps virtually?” Well, first of all, let’s hope you were able to get their email address or their LinkedIn. You’ve had that conversation. You’ve saved it. You’ve said hello, let’s say, in the chat, or even if you were speaking in a virtual conversation. Why not, in a few weeks or a month, depending on what that conversation was about, think about the context. Was there an ask made? Did you tell them you needed something? Then why not follow up? Follow up authentically, but asking them how they are and ask how you can help,. Relationships are a two-way street, just like any good networking. This is not just about you. This is about a broader opportunity to create new connections, and so think of it as, I’m here for something, they’re here for something, let’s make this a win-win.

Cate Luzio:

Last question. “What do you think about short introductory personalized prerecorded videos for cold calls?” I actually have never received one of those, so I would love to get something like that versus just an email for someone trying to sell me something. Listen, we’re all trying to get the attention of others. We’re all trying to raise our profiles, our business profiles. So I actually really like that. We know that video goes a long way, whether you’re on Instagram or TikTok, even on LinkedIn. So I think that’s a new tip that I’m actually going to take away. I think personalized prerecorded videos for cold calls works, all I would say is make sure you introduce yourself and give some context around why you’re making that cold call and why you are using that video.