We all know these challenges of everyday life. Things you know you need to do but you just can’t get yourself to do them. You procrastinate, you find excuses and you end up not doing them at all. One of these things can be networking. Essential for your career (and you know it) but it can be a pain (you know where), especially but not exclusively for the introverted. You need to mingle, talk to strangers, play friendly and make small talk. Ick!
But I got good news for you. You can get rid of the Ick-factor. You just need to make some minor adjustments to your angle and there you go: gotta loooove that networking.
Networking is not what you think it is
What’s networking good for? Think about what networking does for you. Gives you the opportunity to meet important people? Make business on the go? Get rid of a lot of business cards? Most of that is probably why people hate networking.
Networking is always an opportunity to learn and discover new things. That is pretty much always good. If you find the learning value in the networking opportunity you’re pretty much set. It can be as much or as little as the insight that a certain event is not right for you or has a low quality (and why that is). Studies have shown that the attitude to networking makes a striking difference to its success, so if you hate networking, change your perspective.
Make it easy on yourself
One of the reasons many people hate networking is because they think they have to “act” a certain way and portray someone they might not be. Then don’t do that! Even for the introverted you don’t have to act like you’re extroverted. If you’re an introvert, you can identify common interest with others before hand and simply study up on people you want to get in touch with. Preparation can be the key. It also makes you more believable, instead of shoving a business card in someone’s face. So find the situations that seem to be most comfortable for you and engage there. Most likely they will bring you the most anyway.
Who profits from networking?
Try to think about the bigger picture when you network. A lot of times pressure is less high when you think about multiple purposes. Not only you but maybe the company, someone you know, a client, someone you want to approach further on, might profit from a connection you make. When you network, don’t think about yourself as the end of the line, think of yourself as the connection point in the middle. Often this makes networking more attractive and helps you see the sense.
Because if you hate networking, you just haven’t networked the right way yet.