Before entering networking situations, take some time to ask yourself what you would really like to learn about this person and their experiences.
Expressing genuine curiosity will allow the conversation to flow much more smoothly than if you’re faking it. This might mean doing a little bit of background research when preparing for a networking event.
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Pause and reflect on the stories that you tell yourself about networking. Do you tell yourself that networking is something you’ll do later when you have more time? That you don’t network because it’s inauthentic and fake? Or that you don’t have access to an influential network, so there’s no point in trying?
The (often unconscious) stories that we tell ourselves about networking have the power to prevent us from taking the steps that help us create meaningful careers.
As you shift your networking mindset and build your skillset, you’ll probably learn what situations and strategies work best with your unique quirks.
Treat the wins and the fails as valuable information in order to tailor your approach to networking to your strengths.
One of the reasons that networking feels so awkward is because most of us prefer not to think of ourselves as building relationships for the sole purpose of gaining career advantages.
It’s perfectly reasonable to feel uncomfortable trying to build a relationship with someone because of what they can give you. But that feeling is built on the hidden assumption that you are only taking from the relationship and not giving to it.
To be ghosted by your professional contacts, like a Linkedin connection, your prospective client, or your office colleague can feel confusing, with a sense of rejection that can shatter your confidence.
We try to retrace our steps and figure out what went wrong, and also try to follow up for the sake of closure.
Many people avoid networking because it feels awkward and unnatural. Research shows that networking to gain career benefits can lead to feelings of dirtiness.
But cultivating an effective network offers substantial professional and personal benefits, such as finding new jobs, obtaining promotions and receiving pay raises. A strong network is also associated with innovation, creativity, health and happiness.
The professional benefits of networking are well-documented. But if the very thought makes you squirm with discomfort, you aren’t alone.
Networking makes people feel morally impure, especially workers lower on the professional food chain who see engaging in networking as selfish. Still, failure to network has real consequences for workplace performance.
New research suggests that, for those who loathe happy-hour meetups and employee get-togethers, a change in attitude could be the ticket to a bigger network and more productive career.
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