Read Time: 3:15
So, not everyone loves networking. Big shocker, I know. But why? Why is it some people hate something that can so dramatically affect their life and career? I firmly believe that everything we want in life is buried somewhere in our network.
We wouldn’t know that because of our disdain for networking. So it’s possible we are destined to live out our life in our present state and situation. Personally, I think that’s bullshit.
For so many, networking is perceived as a chore. Something people “need” to do for a couple of reasons: the boss said so; it’s important for their career; they got talked into it by a friend, etc. Often times these reasons are true, amongst many others. But when it’s demanded of anyone, so many fight against it. Here is how to get around that…
REFRAME networking into a practice in helpfulness.
What do I mean by reframing? I mean look at the networking event you’re about to begrudgingly attend. Then, stop yourself from thinking about all the smalltalk you’re about to have about the weather, traffic or politics and envision it as your opportunity to help someone.
Instead of those thoughts, think about how you have the next two hours to help as many people as you can. Totally take yourself out of the equation. Think of it as you’re not there to sell your stuff or even get a referral. Think of it as the chance to ask a room full of people how you can best assist them.
You’ll get to ask a lot of questions and then sit back and allow people to answer. Then you’ll ask follow-up questions and they’ll answer and rinse and repeat. You want to get them talking so you can find out how to best help them.
But in that, because as much as networking depends on relationships it also can mean referrals (and is often the aim). So not only will they tell you how to help them but you’ll be able to identify how they might help you!
Networking provides so many opportunities personally and professionally. Any success I’ve ever had I owe to networking. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve not worked my way in the meetings, relationships, etc. I didn’t and don’t belong in.
But because I went in just looking to help, I was way more well received that had I gone in asking for a bunch of stuff. Which is where most people make the mistake. Not to say we can’t do that eventually but that’s not where we want to start.
Folks, that is your work around! Put some distance between what you need and what people can do for you, especially if you’re the type that is averse to networking. This will undoubtedly help. And as you get more comfortable, you’ll already have the listening skills fine-tuned and will be able to do the more proactively.
Repeated small steps make big differences in the long run! And remember, networking is a long-term game.
No get out there, reframe and have fun!