How to succeed in networking without feeling disgusted with yourself
For those of us who are torn between the desire to develop our communication skills, communicating with people without embarrassment and awkwardness, and an almost unbearable desire to close the house one-on-one with your favorite TV series and computer, networking is like a game of cat and mouse with yourself.
Before you go to an event, whether it’s a seminar, presentation, training, or even a corporate event in your home company, we conduct an internal dialogue on the topic: “Why should I go there, who are all these people, why do I need them and why do they need me?»
Meanwhile, without networking, not only career growth is impossible, but also just effective work and a full-fledged life among people.
This article will be useful for those who are thinking about a strategic approach to their own career and professional self-realization.
The ability to acquire the necessary connections and use them for the benefit of yourself and others is not such a subtle art as it may seem at first glance. And it does not require you to be a hypocritical and obsequious sycophant, as many people think.
Be a man
We used to think that business and personal life are different things, that it is not necessary to mix personal and working relationships, that friendship and work are not very compatible, and so on.
However, reality shows that this attitude to things, unfortunately or, on the contrary, fortunately, no longer works. At least, if we are talking about the rules of successful networking.
A survey conducted by employees of Northwestern University showed that those study participants who were asked to think about how they should behave when building exclusively professional relationships rated networking as something unpleasant or even dirty.
Another part of the respondents were asked to think about how they should behave when building personal relationships with other people, and for the most part, people had nothing against networking.
Marsha Shandur, a networking specialist, suggests treating networking as “creating an industry of friends”in a straightforward way.
There’s nothing wrong with letting people just like you. Without any second thoughts. Because being a person and being yourself is much easier than trying to be a structural unit of something bigger than yourself.
Become a reliable source
When you build relationships face – to-face or through social media, you want people to see you as a reliable source.
Therefore, make sure that at least 70% of your interactions with other people are aimed at securing the image of a reliable source, – says Jason Casey
Follow your profile in social networks. People pay attention to how you present yourself.
Therefore, control what you post on the network: be careful with a selfie stick, dubious repostings of what you thought was witty in a drunken stupor, dose cats and profanity, less sponge duck and be careful with politics.
You may be a cool specialist and a great guy, but if your Facebook page is exclusively about the life of your Lexus, bike, or quadriceps, people will never notice a cool specialist and a great guy who can change the world for the better.
Don’t be shy
But the surest way to become a reliable source is to understand what your contacts really are.
Who are these people? What do they like? What don’t they like? What motivates them?
Feel free to ask people questions about what they are really interested in. This is exactly the case when curiosity plays into your hands.
When you begin to understand what kind of people are around you and what they need, then you can try to give them what they want. The more often you do this, the more reliable source you will become.
The more reliable you seem to be, the more people will trust you.
And it does not matter whether this trust is related to the business or not. But where there is no trust, there can be no relationship.
When you finally manage to establish yourself as a trustworthy contact, people will usually start showing mutual interest in you themselves.
Jason Casey recommends that you spend 20% of your time satisfying this interest.
Let people get to know you better: share what’s really important to you, engage them in conversation — there’s nothing wrong with talking about kids, or football, or a movie that inspired you.
Forget about business for a while and just enjoy communicating with each other. People prefer to work with people they trust and like.
This is an important point that should not be missed. Even if you succeed, do not underestimate how you reveal yourself to your interlocutors.
“I am someone who is useful to know»
“I am the one who is useful to know” – according to networking expert Cynthia Greenewalt, this phrase should become your mantra.
“Feel what your value is, and keep it in mind,” she recommends, “otherwise you will be stuck in a state of “well, I hope you like it” in relation to your interlocutors.”
If you manage to demonstrate your own value, you will be able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with a greater degree of probability than if you just seem nice, pleasant to talk to, but it is unclear why the right guy.
First of all, determine for yourself what your “value” is, and demonstrate exactly the part of it that is appropriate for each specific interaction — a confident knowledge of Klingon (conditionally) is unlikely to make you a valuable and interesting contact in the eyes of a fan of “Star wars” (also conditionally).
Greenewalt also advises “determining what” fruit ” might appear on the “tree” you are cultivating, because there is not much point in practicing blind networking.”
When people are interested in you and know that you can be relied on, they are much more willing to spend their time supporting your ideas, goals, and/or business.
If you have demonstrated that you are genuinely interested in someone and are willing to spend your time and energy on it, people are usually willing to do the same in response.
“Talk about yourself and what you are trying to achieve no more than 10% of the time,” advises Jason Casey. — And make no mistake: there is only one way to achieve success — people must understand what you are doing and why. So tell them about it!»
But be careful: you should not always declare a pre-prepared “speech for the Elevator” (a short and aggressive commercial offer. — Primas’. BP), as suggested by some experts in personal effectiveness.
Here we are talking about a strategic, long-term approach to networking, when the goal of any activity is a long – term and mutually beneficial relationship, and not just an attempt to remain a bright spot in someone’s short-term memory.
If you aggressively talk only about yourself and what you do or want to do, at best you will be remembered as a guy (or girl) who only talks about himself.
Your potential value will immediately decrease, as will your credibility. After all, if you only contact people when you need something from them, people will try to stay away from you.
Above, we touched on, so to speak, the content part of the basics of strategic networking — we talked about how to communicate with people.
Now let’s talk about an equally important part of any communication — WHO you need to communicate with.
Most of us build relationships with our peers-current or former colleagues, former classmates.
Typically, you may have several valuable contacts outside of your industry. Unless you are a complete extrovert or highly successful in networking, most of the people you contact in one way or another work in the same field as yourself.
This seems normal and natural, but, according to Dori Clarke, such “myopia” and isolation carries a serious risk to the development of your career.
First, if your circle of acquaintances is too narrow, you limit your opportunities in case of any career shocks, which is very important for all employed professionals in our country.
Let’s say you were cut or your company went down, and your only contacts are your own unhappy colleagues who are in exactly the same limbo.
And you don’t have anyone “useful” outside of the situation who can help you.
Agree: so-so perspective.
Or Vice versa: your business is going up, the Department is expanding, and the company is only benefiting from a prolonged crisis, and you need fresh blood.
It only seems that the market is full of excellent specialists at a reasonable price. We all understand that we are looking for serious positions primarily through our social circle, and if it is too narrow, it is not easy.
In addition, the narrowness of the circle of professional communication greatly distorts our picture of the world and contributes to professional deformation. And this is a very dubious investment in the future outside of a single cozy office.
So if you are concerned about your own professional and career growth, get out of the comfort zone and discover people outside of your industry.
Breaking the circle
First, analyze your current contacts. Who are the 5-10 people you spend more time with?
Second, make a list of your” outer circle ” — 50 or so people who can or do influence your professional life. Who are these people? Are they outside or inside your company, are they your colleagues?