Whether you are in the job search, exploring an entirely new career path or marketing your own business networking is critical to your success. There is simply no better way to advance your career than to personally connect with people that are in the know – people that can open doors for you and send opportunities your way. And in turn, you are doing the same for them.
Easier Said Than Done
Sounds easy? Networking doesn’t come easily for most people especially for introverts. Many people find that networking can be quite overwhelming or even intimidating especially in larger events or with complete strangers. It’s a skill that takes practice, practice and more practice.
3 Steps for Easy Networking
Here’s three steps to make networking not only easier but more fun and productive. First, think of networking as making connections – building relationships. This is a different mindset entirely. Set the intention of having one or two significant conversations – not “working the room”. Second, listen in these conversations with sincere curiosity. Be curious about everything – the focus is on them not you. Give them the gift of listening. Third, think of what you can offer them – how can you help them get what they need – perhaps an introduction; a good book or resource or a shared idea.
You will be pleasantly surprised how this shift in your mindset (and expectations) takes much of the stress out of networking. It’s an other-directed approach that is much more productive. Bring a couple of business cards back, enter them in your database and send a quick email to just say how much you enjoyed the conversation. Now that’s powerful networking!