There are people in this world that just have whatever it is. They are successful in their career, have a solid foundation of friendships, and always seem to be ahead of the game in both their personal opportunities and their career. What if I told you that you can have that too?
Networking can still happen without having to be loud and outgoing and having to socialize. With a little commitment and taking on a few challenges, the puzzle of networking has been solved. Let me explain…
With almost everything adapting to a virtual world, staying at home and networking has become a necessity. And an important necessity at that.
A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.–Harvard Business Review
Focus on Learning
If you look at networking as a daunting and painful task, you’re automatically setting your mind for a terrible experience. Instead, look at it as valuable insight into helping your career. Focusing on learning will defer the need to feel it as social, and more of an opportunity to meet people who share the same passion as you. If you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing, find a group on your social platform that has conversations on how to improve marketing efforts with AI. From there, you’ll most likely find yourself having an authentic conversation with someone who shares your same values.
Try Your Inner Circle First
Still feeling a bit intimidated? Start with people you know; friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors – anyone you talk to regularly. They may not personally be able to help, but can refer you to someone who can. After all, a lot of great opportunities come through word-of-mouth, and almost all references for job positions help secure an interview. Once you’ve had a few conversations, it will start to feel more natural and you’ll begin to feel more comfortable to step into a larger group.
Volunteering is also a great place to practice networking. Find a cause you are passionate about and help by offering your skills. You’ll be surrounded by individuals who are like-minded and share a common ground. And on the plus side, you’ll feel great to give back to the community.
Practice Makes Perfect
One great thing about networking, is that it is a skill that can be learned. When you start with small networking events, you’ll build your confidence and your networking (which is the point, right?). You’ll eventually start attending events where you know a lot of the people from previous events, and the pressure to socialize will fade.
The Risk is Worth the Reward
Networking takes practice, but it’s something all of us can master with a little persistence. Being shy, awkward, or weird is no excuse. Take steps to reaching out, and eventually you will find networking groups you thrive in. Embrace the journey and watch as new doors open for you in your career.