Networking: The concept can elicit joy, confusion, and utter anxiety. At its core, networking is nothing but treating others with consideration and respect while creating new interactions or re-establishing old connections with others. For those looking to refresh their skills, here are three quick tips to becoming a networking hub instead of a solitary island.
- It’s not about you. Yes, it’s nice to think about how others can help us with our goals, but that’s not the be-all-end-all of networking. Treat your neighbor as you want to be treated – ask thoughtful questions and actively listen rather than turning the focus toward yourself.
- Put yourself in front of new people. Community groups, interest groups, meet-ups, and networking events are all great places to stay fresh and meet likeminded professionals. While attending the same networking events over and over can be a good way to establish long-term relationships, keep your skills sharp and expand your network by meeting new people, too.
- Always follow up. Don’t let the first conversation become the last one. The subject of connecting again can even be a helpful way to conclude a conversation; try: “I really enjoyed speaking with you. Is there a good way to get in touch with you again?” Consider asking for a business card instead of offering your own first.
Strong, lasting relationships take work and networking is not an exact recipe. Nonetheless, some networking ingredients include effective listening, common ground, confidence, and consideration.