When you hear the word “networking”, what immediately comes to mind for you? Do you cringe and want to retreat into the safety of your home? Do you feel as though it’s about pitching your wares, trading business cards and manipulating people? If so, it’s no wonder that you resist doing it. Who wants to feel like they are using others and being viewed as insincere?
Often a key factor of my clients’ success strategy includes networking of some sort. Whether they are:
- exploring a new career path,
- seeking a new job,
- looking to expand their leadership capabilities,
- starting or building a small business, or
- considering a transition to retirement,
connecting with and learning from others helps them to reach their goals. However, when networking is brought up, it is often met with resistance and a very undesirable view.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you come from a perspective of networking that is based on building relationships and seeking opportunities to add value, you can change your entire experience of connecting with others. How might you feel differently about networking if you considered the following questions prior to your next networking opportunity?
- What can I share and offer that is valuable to others?
- What can I do to help someone else feel comfortable?
- How can I contribute to another’s success?
- How can I truly listen to what another is saying so I can identify ways to help them?
- Who do I know who would be a great connection for this person?
- How can I simply engage in a relaxing conversation with someone?
- How can I be my true self and make genuine connections with people?
What does networking mean to you now? Hopefully, you are beginning to see networking in a more positive light ~ one in which you build relationships based on true connection, integrity and mutual support.