To many, professional networking means approaching strangers, making small, awkward conversations, collecting business cards and sending LinkedIn connection requests.
There is this misconception that networking is about meeting as many people as you can and talking about yourself to “inspire” them to help you.
Then we hear people saying that they don’t like networking, it doesn’t work and they don’t see any value in this.
Professional networking doesn’t have to be boring, intimidating and inauthentic. It’s not walking into a room full of strangers trying to convince them to give you a job or buy your product.
Think about networking as a way of knowingly and gradually connecting to people, building long-lasting and meaningful relationships with a mutual benefit. In other words, a supportive group.
Here are some key points that will help you understand networking better.
Networking is not about selling or asking for a job
The purpose of networking is to build mutually beneficial relationships. Therefore, you should never ask for a job or try to pitch your business.
Instead, try to learn something from the person you’re talking to. Find out about their personal career story and experiences. As a result, you will receive great career advice and valuable insights.
Did you know that 80% of jobs are never advertised and are filled by word of mouth? Use networking to grow your network and increase the number of opportunities and partnerships that come across you.
Focus on building a strong network of trusted relationships, so that when a job becomes available, your connections reach out to you with an offer.
Networking 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 about meeting as many people as you can
It’s about connecting with the right people and establishing strong professional relationships.
Instead of handing in your business cards to everyone at a conference, focus on creating quality connections where you and the person you’re talking to give and receive value.
Remember, it’s quality over quantity.
Networking 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 about talking about yourself all the time
Show interest in the person you’re talking to. Stop highlighting all your recent achievements and start listening. Prepare a list of questions that you want to hear answers to.
Meeting people who are going through a similar journey or have overcome challenges that you may be facing is such a great learning opportunity and a chance to gain some new insights.
Find out more tips on having a great conversation.
So, start connecting to people now! Start building meaningful relationships to form the foundation of your professional network. Keep learning, keep growing and keep increasing your opportunities.
Check out our other educational resources: