I know that for many people there is nothing easy about networking, especially for us introverts. But networking continues to be an important part of professional development, career management as well as job search. Think of networking not as imposing, but as relationship building, and relationships start and are cultivated through conversation and connection. So when you boil it down, networking is having a mutually beneficial conversation. Here are some tips to make the most out of your networking efforts.
1. Start with people who know you and you are comfortable with. Have the conversation be oriented to work and future career plans. Make sure they know what your situation is and you know theirs. Establish an open dialogue for future conversations.
2. Identify the fears and barriers that hold you back from networking and address each and every one of those.
3. Proactively set monthly networking goals and plug it into your calendar. These have to become non negotiable appointments on your calendar.
4. Leverage affiliate groups you already belong to such as church groups, sports leagues, volunteer organizations, colleges and professional organizations. LinkedIn groups are also an easy way to build your network.
5. Mix it up. Place yourself in situations were you will meet new people. Sometimes it is difficult for us to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone. If you go to one new event per month and meet one new person you can add to your network, it’s worth it.
6. Get coaching on the A-Z of networking. It is important that you feel comfortable with your approach and learn tips to network within your own style and busy schedule.
Don’t let the word “networking” send chills up your spine. Consider these 6 easy tips to get out there and get the ball rolling and you will have a thriving network in no time.