Here’s How To Start Taking The Work Out of Networking
It might just be the longest four-letter word in the English language. For most of us, networking ranges somewhere between loathsome and terrifying. But what if there was a way to make it much less so? What if there was a way to take the work out of networking?
There are lots of things you already do that aren’t necessarily on your list of favorites. Cleaning the house, or having a daily fitness routine come to mind. Still, you do them regularly, because they produce a desirable outcome. Networking should be one more of those things you do routinely, because of the benefits of doing it.
Here are three ways to make networking easy, make networking work for you, and stop dreading it.
Social Media – LinkedIn and Beyond
While we call it “social media,” it’s really an electronic form of traditional personal networks. With the advantage of making and keeping connections all over the world.
If you don’t yet realize it, LinkedIn is the foundation of your social media world. And it’s not meant to be used only when you’re in job seeking mode. What isn’t widely acknowledged is that, as in any relationships, it’s about what value you can contribute, as well as what’s in it for you.
You can find some great social media primers online. Use them. Ms Career Girl has published many articles on the value and best practices of LinkedIn. Get into the habit of being a regular source of useful information, stories, anecdotes, and conversations.
Weak Ties and Your Extended Network
If you’ve been picturing networking as a “who’s in vs. who’s out” list of connections, you’re getting it wrong. Or at least missing out on a huge number of valuable connections.
There’s a big bonus to embracing and developing weak ties and extended networks. Because all of those connections are like seeds. Any one of them may one day sprout into a solid business, or personal, connection. Either way, you win.
“When you talk with strangers, you make beautiful and surprising interruptions in the expected narrative of your daily life. You shift perspective. You form . . . meaningful connections.” (Kio Stark as quoted in “Taking the Work Out of Networking”)
About Those “Casual Conversations” . . .
To paraphrase the popular book, don’t sweat the small talk, because it’s all small talk.
What I mean by that is – – RELAX.
Stop taking life so seriously. When you let go of agendas and motives, more genuine conversations and relationships will naturally grow. And whether a budding or established relationship, it’s those who know you or at least know of you who just might be the source of the most important opportunity in your life.
Networking Isn’t Work
Networking shouldn’t be some difficult, unpleasant experience. You already do it. Remove the ugly label and let it be just part of your everyday life.
If you want to delve into the utterly simple and natural art of networking, I recommend you check out Karen Wickre’s new book, “Taking the Work Out of Networking.” Karen can change that scary networking monster hiding under your bed into your favorite snuggle pillow. Or maybe even your BFF!
Got an introvert on your gift list? Karen’s book is perfect for them!