I’ve been thinking about us “getting back to normal.” We’re going back to school, our offices, attending church or family gatherings, and even some special events. After nearly two years of isolation, networking has got to be on your mind. Especially if you’re looking for a new job or in the process of making a transition in your career. You’re probably out of practice, and I realize you may not even remember what steps you need to take to be successful. Professional career advisors have dozens of tips on how to present yourself at these events (eye contact, listening, researching the guest list, etc.) but that’s a blog for another time.
Making personal connections can be intimidating for even the most extroverted of us but it’s important to remind yourself that networking is just professional relationship building with a purpose. I gave this piece of advice to a mentee of mine and it has worked out pretty well for her so far so I’m going to share it with you. Here is how I feel about networking:
Think less about what somebody can do for you and more about what you can do for them.
Seems simple enough, right? It works for just about anybody. It was my daddy’s secret; he was a brilliant networker, making friends everywhere he went. He could talk to anyone anywhere.
Daddy always said, “Strangers are just friends you ain’t met yet.”
He listened to everyone he met and reflected back to them just what they needed. He could see what was inside other people and instinctively knew how to serve them, giving them a sense of love and belonging. Isn’t that what any of us want?
So whether you’re networking up or across, think about what you can offer them. How can you foster a feeling of community?
And remember, when you network across with people who are at the same level with you now, there’s a chance you could be colleagues with them down the road, or they could hire you as they rise through the ranks. Obviously, you always want to work to build relationships at networking events (any event really); keep gossip and rumors to yourself! A valuable relationship could be hiding behind every table with a nametag and a sharpie on it.
When you offer someone help, and truly know what you have to offer that can make their life easier, it makes all the difference in the world. And that’s what Fearless Authenticity is about – serving your audience so you can build your community.
Think about all the solutions that you need in your life; why not offer that to somebody else?
What a gift to give.