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Seven Networking Tips For Those Who Hate to Network

Jan 15, 2010 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 1 Comments

Networking has a bad reputation. For many people, it brings up connotations of wheeling, dealing, and trying to manipulate people into helping them get something. But that’s not what networking is about—unless you’re really, really bad at it.

Here are a few tips on successful networking strategies for people who hate the idea of networking. 

Think about how you can help others—not what you can get

One of the reasons why networking makes some people so uncomfortable is that it seems like it’s socializing for an ulterior motive—you’re meeting new people with the hope that one of them will hire you or help you get a job.

But the thing is, these new people all hope you’ll do something good for them. Instead of fighting with their interests, embrace them. Approach networking with the
idea that you will do your best to help five people—not get five business cards or
make your pitch to five different people. When you offer no-strings help, you’re
generating goodwill—and it’s
much more likely others will help you in turn.


Be prepared

Don’t go into a networking event cold. Write a pitch and practice saying it until it’s natural and easy. Have some good opening lines ready to start conversations with people—these can be as simple as “Hi, my name is [blank]. What do you do?” The more prepared you are, the less nervous you’re likely to be on the day of a networking event.

Choose the right networking events

Not every event is created equally. Choose events that are likely to attract people who need your services. This way, you know that you’re not engaging in a “tough sell” to persuade people to be interested in you—they’re already used to hiring people like you and they may need your expertise. Then offer free favors instead of asking for work, and you’re much more likely to make a good impression and generate business down the road.

Start by feeling great about your job

If you love your job, it will show. Think back to the last social gathering you went to where you had a long conversation with someone about your career and theirs. If you really like what you do and are interested in what the other person does, it’s fun to talk about—and in a no-pressure, non-networking environment, those conversations are easy. If you can go into a networking event with the idea that you love what you do and are enthusiastic about helping others using your skills, it will be much easier to talk to people about it—and your energy will come through.

You can network without leaving home

Many people don’t like networking because they’re not extroverted and don’t enjoy being in large crowds full of strangers. But you can also network very effectively online. Join a group on LinkedIn and offer answers to questions. Start a blog and link to other bloggers in your line of work; comment on their blogs as well. Shoot a quick email to an associate with a link to an article you think they might be interested in. All those things are networking—and it’s not impossible that you’d land some work that way.

People at networking events want you to talk to them

Keep this in mind before you go to every networking event. People want you to come up to them and talk to them. Think how awkward you felt last time you were standing alone at a gathering where you didn’t know many people, hoping someone would come up and talk to you. It’s like that for every single person at a networking event. Next time you’re at one, try walking up to people instead of waiting for someone to approach you—chances are you’ll get a positive reception.

Networking isn’t easy for everybody

But if you change the way you think about it, it doesn’t have to be a chore. Networking isn’t about how you can get something from someone else—it’s about how you can help others. Approach each networking event with enthusiasm for your job, a well-rehearsed pitch and some opening lines, and most importantly, an eye for what you can do for the other person—and you’re much more likely to see success.

How To Network -


Kevin Over a year ago

Nice article I like how you mention the importance of picking the right events for your services

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