Today I am excited to share with you tip number 2 from my article “How to Own the New Year” which is about networking. If you haven’t read tip 1 “invest in yourself” I would recommend going to check that out first. But without any further ado, here is tip number 2 for getting what you want out of the new year!
- Network, Network, Network!
The first time I was ever introduced to the concept of networking, I was at my university’s career office and I came across a number of pamphlets on how to properly network. At the time I grabbed all of the pamphlets, ready to educate myself and become the best networker that I could be! After that, I was convinced that networking was an artform one had to spend a lot of time perfecting and that only a few could really master. This is an idea that I think society really pushes as well. We put a lot of pressure on people to be great networkers, and I think it scares a lot of people out of trying. This is a tragedy, as networking really is, in my mind, the best and most effective way of getting where you want in life and doing so at a good pace.
So this year I think we need to strip down networking and see it for what it really is, which is talking to people. Of course, there are techniques and tricks for being effective and really connecting with someone when you speak to them, but if you’re someone who is already nervous putting yourself out there, don’t let those things overwhelm you. Just take the first step and chat with someone about what your goals are this year. It doesn’t even have to be at a networking event. Tell your parents’ friends, and your coworkers. Tell anyone who you start having a conversation with, even if it’s the barista at your local coffee shop! The more people who know what you do and where you want to go, the more opportunities will come your way. If you’re new to networking I would also highly recommend going to networking specific meetups. The goal at these is of course, to network and make some connections, but the atmosphere at them is often a little more laid back. Meetups are also usually themed (women in business, tech-oriented, etc.) which gives you something in common with everyone there right off the bat. I will insert a link for meetups at the end of this article.
Finally, I have a little advice for those of you who are already feeling pretty good about your networking skills, and who really want to focus this year on getting your name out there and making some really personal, meaningful connections. When you’re networking, it’s important that whoever you’re speaking with knows what you do and what your goals are, but it is even more important that they see you in action. So the next time you’re networking with someone and they are telling out about what they do and what their goals are, start thinking about how you can help them. How can what you do best, be of use to them? And then offer to help. The most important part of this tip is that when you make the offer to help someone, you don’t expect anything in return! This is how a lot of networking plays out. Someone offers to help someone else, but only with the expectation that they get something in return. This, however, takes the meaningful connection out of networking. If you show people that you do what you do, not only because you’re good at it, but because you genuinely enjoy doing it and not because you want something in return, they will respect you. Connections which are built on respect last a lot longer than those which come from a give and take transaction.
So now whether you’re totally new to networking, or you just want to sharpen up your skills, you’ve got a place to start. I wish you luck and many connections in the new year and I will be back tomorrow with tip number 3 for owning 2017!
Meetup Website: https://www.meetup.com/