Do you also think that networking can feel a little cramped or even difficult? You’re not alone! And yet, it is so important to build networks today, both for your career but also for your personal development. Here’s how you get started!
Networking is a word that scares many, and already there we think you need to start your journey. You need to work on your attitude towards the phenomenon of networking.
Participating in a mingle can sound like it comes with demands, when it is really only you who set expectations. Instead of worrying about things like “what if nobody wants to talk to me” or “what a hassle if I meet someone I don’t want to talk to”, try to shift your focus and take control of your thoughts.
You are there to see if there is someone who is interesting to you just to talk to, what people could be at the event you really want to meet? Is it the end of the world if you leave the mingle without new contacts? Then you might have learned instead what kind of events are of interest to you and which you can continue to skip.
Offer your help and expertise
Skilled networkers do not sit around waiting to be asked if they can speak or participate in an event.
By offering help or expertise in an event where you get to meet interesting people in exchange, you can really step up your networking game.
The somewhat worn-out phrase “Sharing is Caring” still applies – sharing and being generous with your skills and help can only come back to you in one way: with gratitude, new relationships and maybe even gene services.
Widen your network and add perspectives
When you attend industry-relevant conferences and events, you will most likely meet people with similar interests and backgrounds. Of course it is great, but ask yourself if this is really where you find interesting and exciting synergies?
Challenge yourself and your perspective and go to events that are outside your own perspective to complement your network with perspectives you would otherwise miss.
Follow up on your contacts
Simply adding contacts on LinkedIn in the long run does not bring much value in itself, in addition to having a larger digital network that listens to you. Therefore, it is important to follow up on the contacts you want to cherish. A coffee or a lunch is something you spend almost every working day on, so here’s how to get creative.
If you feel a certain resistance to constantly contacting people you met only once, you can set up small rules for yourself. One rule could be that once a week I should have a coffee with someone in your network.
Another rule could be that once every two months you make a post on LinkedIn and book lunches with interesting people in your network. This way, you force yourself outside your comfortable office space and into your network – for real.