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Networking Is Not As Challenging As You Think

Caiaimage/Chris Ryan

Networking is not for the faint of heart or something that can be done without the proper mindset.  

Social media has created the illusion that networking can be accomplished by “friending” a lot of people or “connecting” with random strangers.

Unfortunately, with shallow relationships manufactured by social media, networks can be flimsy at best.

Relationships that are earned and built on trust are the ones that are fruitful when called upon.

Most people realize they have done a poor job of networking or staying in touch with others only when they need something.

Whether it be networking with friends for personal reasons or professionally for career reasons, authentic networking takes commitment and effort. Most people realize they have done a poor job of networking or staying in touch with others only when they need something. Networking is not spur of the moment tool, but rather a mentality that needs constant nurturing.

Some of the challenges include things like hand written notes, punctual follow up, and remembering names with faces. These core principals are what separates most people who aspire to have deep meaningful networks of reliable contacts and those with successful fruitful relationships.

People who are committed to networking do the following things:

  • Stay in touch with friends from K-12, college, and the local community
  • Ongoing contact with former co-workers from every job
  • Actually follow up on brief encounters at social activities
  • Commit to breakfasts, lunches, happy hours with new and old friends and co-workers
  • Commit to remember details about contacts such as family details, hobbies, and alma maters

Networking must be authentic and not seen as self-serving. To be effective, it must be a two-way street of give and take with favors, questions, and sharing being mutual and equal.

The best way to jump start networking is to offer and follow through with favors to other people in your existing network. Genuine and sincere effort put out by a person is the best way to gain credibility in relationships. It is not a chicken and egg scenario, it starts with you!!

Furthermore, networking takes sacrifice personally and professionally because it is not an 8-5 task that only takes place 5 days a week.

Networking is not an 8-5 task that only takes place 5 days a week.

When you are on a business trip and time allows, are you willing to reach out to an old co-worker to say hello and grab a coffee? 

When you see a note on LinkedIn about an old friend, do you follow up with a sincere congrats or do you click the “like” button and call it good?  

Like anything else, if you want results you have to put in the work. The more you put in, the more you will someday take out.

Good luck and happy networking….
 

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