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The aftermath of Covid-19 was quite unpredictable in the initial stages. With the world moving to online platforms, it was difficult to sense the physical touch. The pause due to covid-19 has lasted for more time than we expected. Everything including economy and education was shifted onto virtual platforms. In the first phase of the lockdown, it was quite fun to learn and work from the pleasure of home, but gradually, the effects of only being at home were quite visible. This time was especially difficult for school-going children. They were completely disconnected from the outside world and had to cope up with their academics over a screen at home.

A guide to Online networking for school students
Child studying using an online platform

The screen was not enough, children missed out on playing out and meeting their friends, they also were keen to pursue their education on an offline basis. A survey was conducted all over the world, wherein parents and children were asked about their experience, of the stay-at-home culture, and the results were shocking. How being at home, has affected the social skills of kids, and their ability to interact with confidence has been hit hard. Parents also mentioned about their children lacking the networking skills that are of utmost importance, specifically in the early stages of education and overall growth. To give a thought, why is networking so important even at such an early or initial stage? Well, here are a few reasons listed as to why networking with other beings is important:

  1. In the running race, where everyone is moving ahead to be first, it is important to take along fellow mates, for better success. Children today are unaware of the importance of networking.
  2. Basically, networking refers to forming a mutual relationship with other people, using their own actions and their response. There is no pause when it comes to networking, it is a continuous and constant process and can take place anywhere anytime.
  3. Networking is not essential but also useful. In order to be aware, get updates, pursuing job opportunities, upgrading skills, or even just as simple as having support, networking can be truly useful.
  4. It is important to note that, networking does not limit only to fellow mates or students, but also to other people such as alumni, teachers, and friends. The term networking is a wide concept and has a varied number of concepts under its umbrella.

 Schools, specifically play an important when it comes to inculcating networking and related skills into children. As the first social place children are introduced to is school, this is where the process of networking starts. Due to the current urge for networking, The Lexicon Schools, have successfully included networking skills and methodology into their curriculum for students to grasp onto these skills and utilize them to the fullest. But what else children can do to keep up their networking game even during times like online educations? Here it is, a complete guide filled with tips specially curated for students and the online education system:

  • Presentation – Often children are dressed and styled by their parents. This tip starts with calling out all the parents. Presentation is important. Appearance is vital when it comes to putting forth the first impression. Even though online education eliminates the factor of presentation, or be able to see other people, it is important for the near future. The times are unpredictable due, but the continuous is being held online. Therefore, schools can start by asking students to turn on their cameras and present themselves. Conducting dress-coded activities can give a little boost to the presentation skills in networking. Presentation mostly includes appearance but it also includes making an impression with a handshake or soft eye contact; but online education may not provide an equal amount of exposure to presentation, but it can definitely prove to have a trial run before students meet one another in physicality.
  • Use of Technology – Where the world went online, it was important to have some presence, either with online lectures or social media. Avoiding the hazards of social media can prove to be useful while networking. Nowadays, students are hooked on all and every social media platform, which provides a wider reach of the network, which can serve a lifelong network. Personal networking and professional networking are two sides of a coin. Under technology, social media is the best way to build personal networking using platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and/or Snapchat, and to construct professional networking, platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or different blogs can be used. During school hours, students need to network with their alumni, peers, industry professional using such platforms. Using technology to their advantage can be tricky, but under the supervision of an elder, this use can sincerely help in the development of personal and career growth.
A guide to Online networking for school students
  • Engage in Video Chats – In a traditional way of education, the first day counts to be extremely important, as it is the first step to opening up in the networking world. But in case of the online education, students may not feel the same way about the first day. The official meet of students is online, wherein they miss out on the high fives, and random laughs or just exploring the campus. So, what can be done in such a situation? Well, conducting video chats and activities other than the regular lectures, can be effective to start building a network. Such video chats via modes like skype, zoom, or facetime can help students to create friendships, as well as, add to their network circle. Using the blessing of such a video chatting platform can be an addition to prepare for the presentation part of networking. These unofficial meets can establish a more meaningful relationship between, classmates, teachers, or other members, despite being in any part of the world.
  • Ask and listen – Asking a simple question can be a great conversation starter. The conversation is a vital part of networking as it is the first step to establish any kind of connection or network. Networking is all about building relationships and does not limit to just one-time contact. Asking a question can create a curious and keen image of the person. But listening back to the answers is equally important. As listening to other mates, can build an emotional connection. Listening requires patience, let others complete and try to understand the feeling behind their answers. Networking not only requires students who only ask questions but also students who listen and help others. Helping others is also a part of networking, and asking for help too. Help can build a foundation of the relationship via building trust. In fact, students can ask their peers and teachers for career advice or different insights on varied topics. Asking others for help can make them understand that the other person values the relationship and opinion.
  • Stay in touch and Continue – Networking is not a one-stop process; it is a continuous process. It needs requires constant follow-up and check-ups. Joining different online clubs and groups to continue networking would help the process be steady and sturdy. Any relationship demands maintenance, and so does networking. Set schedules and create time for the connections that are built while networking. Share relevant articles, or meaningful webinars can add value to the relationship. Cheer up your fellow mates, help them in their responsibilities, and look out for them. Remember, small gestures can help in sustaining and retaining the relationship and continuing the network.

Evolution is the master key to networking, and schools provide this comprehensive approach towards networking, leading to the time-to-time evolution of the students. Well planned and instructional activities can give a high-quality outcome of networking. Students need to grasp onto any opportunity that they feel comfortable with and work their way through to build a structured network. The possibility of any contact coming into use from the built-up network is highly likely. Be confident, and surpass the fears, and start a journey of building a healthy network right from the schooling stage. Use the available resources, and make the most out of them. Also remember to think of mutual benefit. Thinking one way or being selfish can harm the base of the network leading to disrupting the foundation. Keep the process of networking reciprocal and synergize with the other fellow mates of the network. Keep building and keep growing, gradually and slowly to retain lifelong effects.

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