Contactless Networking Masterclass: The Challenge of Building Trust Virtually

Made News


Whilst it may not always come "naturally", the reality is that virtual meetings, contactless networking and video calls have become exceptionally important in the modern business world. With many of us experiencing clear teething problems with this medium it can be easy to take a back seat to the idea of “digital”, however, we think it has become exceptionally apparent in 2020 - with Zoom competency now being a key barometer for business success - that embracing digital is vital for the manufacturing industry to continue to grow and thrive.

Made in Group members met on Thursday 10th September via Zoom to hold a Contactless Networking Masterclass - as Joe and Yasmin conducted a short presentation - before the group were given chance to network and discuss some of the common challenges and solutions found through digital networking and how we can be better at building trust with business associates and prospects online.

For those who were unable to attend, here is a transcript of the Contactless Networking Masterclass for Manufacturers presentation:


The Challenge of Building Trust Virtually


The Obvious Stuff (right?)


  1. Dress for the occasion
  2. Choose a quiet area
  3. Test your equipment and internet speed prior
  4. Frame yourself correctly
  5. Stay seated and attentive (leave the keyboard alone)
  6. Mute yourself in group meetings when not speaking
  7. Speak up and accentuate social etiquette (smiling, nodding, etc.)


Some New Challenges 


False: Building trust digitally is not inherently more difficult.

True: The way to successfully build trust must be tailored differently to fit this new medium.

Just as there was barriers in the physical world, what are the challenges for building trust digitally?

  • Extended Distance: Our brain looks for and requires "similarities" when building trust with someone. The shared physical space of a meeting room makes it easier to establish these.
  • Misunderstanding: Unclear body language (i.e. not framing camera correctly).

Unfamiliarity and Safety Concerns: Those not used to an online environment may have unease with making decisions "just" based on meeting through a screen.


Some New Solutions 


Things to bear in mind in order to facilitate a more trusting virtual environment:

Build Familiarity Beforehand: Company - ensure your pre-meeting information matches your website/brand. Individual - send a Loom video introducing yourself.

Be Mindful of Body Language: Be aware of video limitations; ensure that any gestures you want to make can be seen clearly and understood (e.g. sit further away).

Eye Contact or Camera Contact? Naturally you need to look at the person to gauge their reaction, however, you can maintain this physical-world  benefit by simply looking into the webcam at the end of your speech to give the social cue that you have finished your point. 

Accentuating Social Cues: E.g. leaning slightly towards the camera when you are speaking or to signal you want to speak, whilst leaning back to make it clear you are actively listening and engaged with what they are saying. Don’t forget where you are!


Do Manufacturers LĢ¶iĢ¶kĢ¶eĢ¶ Need “Digital”?


A Loathe-Hate Relationship


Typically, manufacturing companies spend only 3.2% of turnover on marketing activity, compared with a far higher industry-wide average of 11.3%

For many manufacturing companies, the prospect of implementing digital marketing may seem either intimidating or a waste of time

This mindset is heightened further due to many long-established manufacturing companies having been successful for decades without the need for digital


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There


Many companies are still thriving or surviving with their pre-digital strategy - but how long can this continue?

The Acquity Group’s recent State of B2B Procurement study found that 94% of B2B buyers always conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product. Of course, the manufacturing industry works differently to others, however, your digital presence is being used by more buyers as a way of vetting companies.

With major firms failing or even refusing to implement a successful digital strategy, this leaves the door open for proactive firms to take over; an inevitable evolution.


Can Non-Digital Firms Survive?


“Neglecting digital isn’t going to kill you today, but it will kill you in 3-5 years.” Do we agree?


Our industry has not always been the quickest to embrace the notion of "digital", however, other industries provide examples of smaller companies who invest in digital, David and Goliath-ing the titans (e.g. Amazon vs Toys "R" Us).

This theory is becoming closer to reality in 2020; with BBLIVE2020 being the first example of Made’s offer of support to companies who want to evolve before it’s too late.


Embracing a New Era Seamlessly and Effectively 

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The reality is, many UK manufacturing firms that do have an online presence will have infrequent social media usage (the odd few Tweets here and there), an outdated website and virtually zero search presence on Google. To help tackle this, Made in Group offers Visbility, Content & Networking - an all in one solution - but tailored to fit.



Did you know Made has The Midlands and Yorkshire’s Number 1 Manufacturing Directories - ranking no.1 for “midlands manufacturing” and “yorkshire manufacturing” on Google, boasting approximately 20,000 visitors a month?

Is your Directory Listing up to date? Services, Accreditations, Sectors, Contact Info.

Is your Microsite relevant and serving a specific objective? Matching company website (or fulfilling an alternative purpose, e.g. focused on one product/service).



With the microsite, Made in Group offer genuine platform to champion your success stories amongst thousands of fellow industry professionals; reach every manufacturing firm that employs more than 20 people within 100 miles. Do you upload once+ a month?

Effective content marketing: post unlimited articles to a high traffic site. Share of voice = share of market

Industry exposure: The best articles are shared on social media with our 20,000+ industry followers, in our weekly digest and even published in our quarterly magazine publication to 11,500 people across The Midlands and Yorkshire.



Made in Group have digitalised the likes of virtual Q&As, panel discussions and networking events. Some of the main features and benefits include:

  • Conducted from your desk (time, convenience, expenditure SAVED)
  • 2-3 events per month
  • Each member gets 30-60 seconds to speak to everyone
  • “Speeds networking”- breaks down awkwardness/“cliques”
  • Stay visible and strengthen your digital skillset

Network with like-minded UK manufacturing business leaders and learn groundbreaking best practice at Made in Group virtual events.


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