Networking

Topic number one is networking.  Why?  Probably because I feel like I do not do nearly enough of it.  I am just not good at walking up to people at a networking event and striking up a conversation.  The number of times I have done it it apparently wasn’t the right time for it.

Recently I was advised that anyone who is anyone golfs…therefore, I should think about caddying in my free time and seeing who I can meet and network with.  So, this is definitely one thing I need to work on and change.

Hence, the following article.  Meredith Levinson shares her 12 tips that I hope will help me as well as any other person who is on the shy side.  Below are the twelve tips and my personal opinions about each.

1. Start Small: Don’t expect a big connection to happen right away or a big time job to come out of one connection.  It will take time and with time we will all get better at meeting new people.

2. Stop Apologizing: I have to say that I always feel bad about everything and I hate to interrupt or feel like I am intruding on someone’s space.  I suppose that networking events are meant for intrusions and I just need to open myself up to that idea.

3. Tap Into Your Primal Instincts: Be genuine…see below

4. Be Yourself: If you pretend to be someone else or aren’t genuine people will pick up on that right away.  My problem is that it’s not genuine to me to just come up to strangers…However, I do have to say that working in retail is opening me up more and forcing me to talk to strangers and approaching people in a way that, to me, at times may not be about the most genuine things.

5. Tap Into Your Passions: Network in circles that are within your industry.  I gave a list of groups in my Social Media+ Leads=Bigger Community post.  By networking in a group that you are really interested in will allow you to have similar interests and have genuine conversations with the people in attendance.

6. Ask For Introductions: LinkedIn is great for this sort of thing.  There have been a number of times when I have requested to be introduced to someone through someone else I know.  I should do that more in the real world…

7. Be Generous: Return the favor.  I am constantly sharing job openings with my friends if I think it may be of interest to them.  In my book, if you give then you shall receive.

8. Be Prepared: Always be prepared for anything to happen.  Worst case scenario, be prepared for rejection, best case scenario…pull out your business cards for a possible interview or informational interview!

9. Follow Up: I always try to get feedback from my interviews and I always follow up with a “thank you” to whoever I was speaking or meeting with.  A thank you doesn’t cost anything and it will only take a couple of minutes to draft up an e-mail.

10. Get Over Your Fear of Rejection: Everyone gets rejected at some point in their lives.  The worst thing that can happen is that someone may not want to speak with you.  I need to get over that and feel OK with striking up conversation with the person next to them.

11. Take Risks: Get out of your comfort zone!  That’s all…

12. See a Shrink: I can’t say I necessarily agree with this one so take a look at Meredith’s take on it.

What did you do today?

3 thoughts on “Networking

  1. Hello Linda,

    Good post. I think there is always that slight fear when you try to strike up a conversation with someone in the conference. With practice, it becomes natural. It’s really helped me so far. Another way of networking that I have been using lately is informational interviewing and shadowing an executive. I just recently got an internship through a health care system simply by just networking with the CEO of the organization. Not only do I get some tremendous insight from them as health care leaders, but it has greatly increased my network contacts within the industry.

    Cheers,
    Richard

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