Instead of looking at networking like something that you have to force yourself to do at events and meet ups –start thinking about it as an integral part of your future growth, development and opportunities.
It’s all about participation
Networking is important for growth-minded people. It does take a bit of effort and energy, though, it’s something that you’ll become really good at. Even introverts can be great networkers, and here’s how.
1. Meet your friends’ friends
Who are your friends who are killing it in their career and lives? Can’t think of any…? Sometimes, you need to go out and meet other people who can help you to achieve the things in front of you, right now. Check if your friends have other friends who can reveal new insights, opportunities or offer ant general help which can progress your career.
2. Reach your social networks
If you’re reading this, you probably have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more. Social media is by far the greatest network we have seen to date. It’s a place where people want to engage with each other and spread a message. Since there are so many people and even more content on social media, it’s becoming common for each platform to keep feeding us stuff that they think we’ll like. Companies are using AI and complex algorithms to try and keep us coming back for more. However, It’s our job to get out of our usual echo chambers and find the conversations that will truly benefit our future, and then actively participate in them.
You can do this by searching out groups, finding new pages and joining forums. Leave a post or a comment and make be as helpful as you can. People are always hungry for useful content, and they love to share things that will help their own networks. Also, make sure to engage with people who are giving the most value on these channels. Tell them how helpful they have been and leave a kind word. In this way, they’ll be more eager to help you in the future when you have a specific pain point that you’re trying to overcome. And that brings us to our next point…
Networking is all about strategy and participation.
3. Figure out how you can help someone
The irony here is staring us right in the face. When you go into a networking opportunity and only try to get stuff for yourself, you come out with next to nothing. Instead; when you go into it with the mindset of seeing how many people you can help, you’ll come out with much more then you expected. The rule here is give more and you’ll receive more. There something about a generous person who’s sharing something valuable that attracts us all. It’s quite the phenomenon. So, go into networking opportunities with a generous mindset.
“The most powerful forms of giving are nonmaterial — the gifts of caring, attention, affection, appreciation and love are some of the most precious gifts you can give and they don’t cost you anything,” – Deepak Chopra
4. Be clear and concise
Networking is strategic. In a face to face situation, you have to be able to state your message clearly and concisely, whilst enticing people to engage with it. Practice your elevator pitch – tell people who you are, what you do, and what you believe in under 20 seconds. This actually helps you gain clarity on yourself, and why you do what you do. It also lets others know the most important things about you; allowing them to become interested and attentive much quicker.
5. Network every day, even when you think you don’t need to
Networking works best when you make it part of your overall growth and development. You just never know who you’ll meet today who could have a life-changing opportunity for you 10 years from now.
“At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published” – Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons
You need to connect to other like-minded people if you want to achieve remarkable things. You need a tribe who can inspire and support you – otherwise, you’ll just be crossing your fingers and toes and waiting for the good judgment of lady luck.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team. Athletes need coaches and trainers, child prodigies need parents and teachers, directors need producers and actors, politicians need donors and strategists, scientists need lab partners and mentors.” – Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn
No one is self-made – that’s just a story that we’re told because it sounds good and sells. Anyone who’s achieved anything worthwhile had other great people who spurned them on. That’s the ultimate benefit of networking. It brings you into the orbit of remarkable others who will change the trajectory of your destiny for the better.