by Karen Kodzik
For many people, there is nothing easy about networking, especially if you're an introvert. But networking continues to be an important part of professional development, career management as well as the job search. Think of networking not as imposing on others, but as relationship building, and relationships are cultivated through conversation and connection. When you boil it down, networking is about having a mutually beneficial conversation. Here are some tips to make the most out of your networking efforts.
- Start with people who know you and are comfortable with. Focus the conversation around work and future career plans. Make sure they know what your expectations are and you know theirs. Establish an open dialogue for future conversations.
- Identify the fears and barriers that hold you back from networking, and address them.
- Proactivelyset monthly networking goals. Consider plugging it into your calendar to make them non-negotiable appointments.
- Leverage affiliate groups you already belong to, such as church groups, sports leagues, volunteer organizations, or colleges and professional organizations. LinkedIn groups are also an easy way to build your network.
- Mix it up. Place yourself in situations were you will meet new people. Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to get out of our comfort zone. If you go to one new event per month and meet one new person to add to your network, then it’s worth it.
- Get coaching on the "A-Z" of networking. It is important that you feel comfortable with your approach and learn tips to network that work with your own style and busy schedule.
Don’t let the word “networking” send chills up your spine. These six easy tips can get the ball rolling, and you will have a thriving network in no time.
Karen Kodzik, a career management consultant and founder of Cultivating Careers, holds a master’s degree with an emphasis in career development and has worked with professionals in transition for over 13 years. She has worked inside of Fortune 500 companies, a global consulting firm, higher education, and a non-profit organization. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries throughout the country.
Reprinted with permission. See original article.