When it comes to excelling in your career, you likely know that building and growing your personal brand is a key piece of the puzzle. But, here's the thing: The very thought of pasting on a smile and a name tag, shaking the hands of a bunch of strangers, and reciting your elevator pitch makes you nauseous.
Don't pressure yourself into thinking that you need to be the center of attention or speak with a large audience.
If you continue to build one meaningful relationship at a time with the people who actually matter to you, by setting up informal meetings or coffee dates, you'll actually end up with a stronger personal brand than those people who fly around networking events engaging in endless conversations about the weather.
There are two particular things that most of us hate about having to network. One is its baldly transactional nature. In a Harvard Business Review article, this wry definition of networking was offered: "the unpleasant task of trading favors with strangers." The other is that needing to do it feels like a vulnerability.