How do you network during a pandemic

Mike Folinas - Manager of Research Administration, University of Toronto


The past year has required us to pivot and adapt to an ever-evolving situation.  The pandemic has forced many of us to change the way we work, the way we live and our daily routines.  This year, the format of the CARA National conference was changed and was held entirely online.  This change in the format will require us to adapt our normal skillset to take advantage of this year’s regional conferences, but how do we network?

We asked our members how to network at virtual events during a pandemic. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Review the platform the event is being hosted on and take advantage of the features it offers to promote yourself
  • Take part on message boards during presentations
  • Publicize your attendance to the event through social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
  • Develop goals, before the event, that you want to achieve
  • Participate in all events during the virtual conference, including games and gatherings
  • Share your ideas in seminars, community forums, etc.
  • Review the conference attendee list and reach out to those you want to meet
  • Share relevant articles with attendees or the community forums at the conference
  • Connect with new connections you made via social media (i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Upload your bio, your photo (be professional) and your contact information
  • Do not be afraid to say hello and start a conversation
  • Share your expertise on the community forums and social media
  • Ensure you allow time in your work schedule to attend all events
  • Follow up with new connections you made via email or social media
  • Post reviews about the event outlining your experiences
  • Do your homework before the event
  • Ensure your social media profiles are up to date
  • Actively participate in all sessions


These are all great suggestions and tips that will help you achieve your networking goals when attending a virtual conference.  Thank you for all of those who contributed and we hope these suggestions will be useful for you in the upcoming CARA Regional conferences.