If you’re like many people, you’ve probably been frustrated by the drudgery of networking. So, how do you make it an enjoyable activity? Well, there are a few steps you can take to get the most from your time.
Do it your own way
Networking can be a dreaded rite of passage for most professional types. While it may not be the most pleasant thing to do, it is the most effective way to find your next gig, assuming you are willing to put in the effort. Despite the negative connotations, networking can be fun and exciting. Whether it’s the old-school cocktail party or a meet and greet, the opportunities are endless. The key is to find the right people. To do so, you’ll need to weed out the bad apples and make friends with the good.
One of the best ways to do this is to join a networking club. This will ensure that you have a network of professionals to turn to for advice and tips. You will also be able to scour the community for the best parties and who to hang out with. Aside from a social calendar, you will also have access to the latest in networking technology, including mobile apps and web tools to streamline your experience.
For example, networking can be a one-man show, but there is no shame in asking for a little help time and again. In fact, a bit of friendly advice could go a long way. When in doubt, you can even get a second opinion from your friends and family. Having the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else will not only make you a more confident person, but it will also give you an insider’s perspective on the latest and greatest in the field. As such, it is always a good idea to be well-informed before making the leap to a new venue. With a little scouting, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many people are more than willing to share their wares with you.
Stay in your comfort zone
If you’re dreading networking events, you’re not alone. This is especially true for introverts who may not be accustomed to large group settings. While networking can be uncomfortable and a bit draining, there are some strategies that you can use to stay in your comfort zone and make the most of your time.
First, choose an event that is designed for you. The best networking events are the ones that give you the opportunity to talk to others who share your interests. For example, you can attend a professional running club or join an art club. You may also want to look for events on MeetUp or through LinkedIn.
Another good idea is to join an industry group. These are likely to be well-attended and will attract interesting people.
Networking is important if you want to advance in your career. Not only does it help you build relationships, it can also help you learn more about yourself. By challenging yourself, you’ll discover what makes you unique.
When you’re trying to expand your network, it’s important, to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you discover how to use your strengths to your advantage.
Similarly, when you’re going out of your comfort zone, be sure to ask yourself if your excuses are valid. For instance, you might hate public speaking. Unless you’re already comfortable speaking in front of large groups, don’t try to force yourself to do so.
Once you’ve overcome your fears, you can start building a network. It’s also a good idea to remember that everyone is different. You don’t have to be the center of attention to make friends. Keeping a positive mindset can be the key to making new connections.
No matter where you’re from or what you’re aspiring to do in life, it’s possible to find something that will help you reach your goals. Whether it’s through networking or through volunteering, there are many ways to help you succeed.
So, what’s your plan? Find an ally who will support you and let you know how to network effectively. With a little practice and a lot of determination, you’ll be able to find success with networking.
Make it a habit
If you find yourself hating networking, don’t despair. Instead, try something new. Try attending one-on-one meetings or changing your networking style. This will help you get over your phobia and start making networking a habit.
When you network, you are fostering relationships that can lead to potentially transformative opportunities. By spending time nurturing these relationships, you can turn networking into a rewarding and profitable habit. You may not feel as comfortable with it as you thought, but it is a mistake to avoid it. As long as you do it consistently, you will reap the rewards of your efforts.
Even if you are an outgoing person, you can feel anxiety and resistance when you are networking. That is normal. It can even be a good thing. It is an opportunity to show others that you are serious about what you do. Just be careful that you don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a rut. Fortunately, there are many resources on the web that can help you get over your fears. For instance, LinkedIn can help you learn how to become more outgoing and effective.