Originally posted to Forbes by Ilissa Miller, CEO of iMiller Public Relations and President of NEDAS

When global economies are disrupted, people adapt and innovation occurs. With a global pandemic causing major disruptions to traditional business operations, the world has to adapt — and it is. We all know that the internet keeps us tethered together, but when physical connections such as in-person meetings and conferences and events are shut down, an alternative way of meeting new people is required.

Virtual networking is an advent driven by the need to allow individuals to grow their personal network connections and, in turn, drive awareness and opportunities to learn and solve problems together. Many existing working groups were created to solve some technical industry problems, and platforms such as LinkedIn provide an easy way to identify potential people worth meeting. Yet none of that can truly replace that person-to-person, physical relationship.

Industry trade shows, conferences and events provide opportunities for people to reconnect with existing customers and prospects and to identify new people who could drive business opportunities. In the “viral age,” adapting how we do business is a necessity — this includes how we may meet new people to do business with. For companies in the communications infrastructure sector — which are considered a critical service in today’s digitally reliant world — network deployments, connectivity and the issues and opportunities requiring network infrastructure connectivity don’t go away. In reality, they have increased quite dramatically.

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