Let's Talk About Networking: Tips and Tricks
Some people cringe when they even think about networking. The thought of having to put yourself out there is scary, nerve-wrecking, and all kinds of other words that make us uncomfortable sometimes. This very mindset, while it may seem accurate, is exactly what needs to change.
At its core, networking is about learning about someone else and forming relationships that are mutually beneficial. When people imagine networking, they have an image of a professional event where introductions and handshakes are exchanged while every one is dressed in formal attire with the hopes of career development. While there are still events like this, that’s not always the case anymore.
There are so many fun events that can allow people to network while doing an activity! For example, we attended the POPSUGAR Play/Ground festival in June and they not only had great panels, but they also had workout classes, places to shop and so much more. We were able to meet so many great people while we were there!
Networking can also be, sending a cold email, reaching out to a supervisor at your first internship, asking a friend to make an introduction, and so much more. If you have LinkedIn, definitely make sure to take advantage of it. Your connections may be able to introduce you to someone to a hiring manager or your next mentor!
“At its core, networking is about learning about someone else and forming relationships that are mutually beneficial. ”
It’s all about who you align yourself with, but also maybe stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be easy to reach out to people who you like or someone with similar interests, but forming a connection with someone who isn’t necessarily in either of those categories can inspire you to go in a different direction and open you up to even more people and ideas. Do your research and see what comes up!
On another note, networking events are real, but they don’t have to be feared. Preparation is key! Think about the answer to these three questions: What types of people am I hoping to attract? What am I looking to get out of it? What opportunities do I want to open myself up to? Once you set those intentions, you’ll have a clearer idea of exactly what you want to accomplish. That, in itself, will help you feel more confident and less stressed about being surrounded by new people.
Let us know how you approach networking in the comments below!