Networking. It often evokes images of stuffy suits, back-slapping, and schmoozing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We believe that networking can be a force for good.
In a world where nearly everyone is connected, networking is more necessary than ever. Building relationships and developing connections can open you up to opportunities you may never have otherwise had.
What is Networking?
Networking is the process of building relationships with other people who can help you achieve your professional goals. These relationships can provide valuable opportunities, resources, and advice.
Some people see networking as a cold, transactional process of exchanging favors and contacts. But it doesn’t have to be that way! When done correctly, networking can be a fun and rewarding way to meet new people, learn new things, and get ahead in your career.
Before you get started, remember:
Networking can be a great way to further your career, make new friends, and learn new things. But if you’re not used to networking, it can feel a bit daunting.
Here are a few tips:
Start small. Don’t try to go to every networking event in your city all at once. Start with one or two events that seem interesting to you while keeping your goals in mind.
Talk to people you know. Networking doesn’t have to be all about meeting new people. You can also network with people you already know, such as colleagues, friends, and family members.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. People will be more interested in talking to you if you’re genuine and authentic.
Listen more than you talk. When you’re networking, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about you. Be interested in the other person and what they have to say.
Avoid schmoozing and focus on building genuine relationships. Schmoozing is when you talk to someone just for the sake of talking, without any real purpose or intention. It’s the worst part of networking and gives networking a bad reputation. Instead, focus on building genuine relationships. Get to know people for who they are, and don’t try to use them for your own gain.
Follow up. After you’ve met someone, be sure to follow up with them. Send an email or connect on social media.
Stay in touch. Once you’ve made a connection, don’t forget to stay in touch. Networking is all about building relationships, so make an effort to keep in touch with the people you’ve met.
Not onto the real reason you’re here:
20 Ways to Start Networking
Get involved in professional organizations in your field.
Attend industry events and conferences.
Meet with a career coach or counselor to discuss your goals.
Create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with others in your field.
Join an online professional network such as Xing or Ecademy.
Start a blog or write articles about your industry.
Speak at industry events or conferences.
Teach a class or workshop related to your field.
Serve on a board or committee for a professional organization.
Mentor someone starting out in your field.
Get involved in community service projects related to your field.
Intern or volunteer with an organization in your field.
Participate in job shadowing or informational interviews.
Take on a leadership role in a professional organization.
Give presentations at industry events or conferences.
Write articles or whitepapers about your industry.
Serve as an expert panelist or organization in your field.
Develop a professional network of contacts in your field.
Join an online community or forum related to your field.
Use social media to connect with others in your field.