Many people are averse to networking because it’s associated with inauthenticity and awkward interactions.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
My ability to connect depends on my intentionally being in a space and making my time there mean something. I work to retain information about the people I choose to engage, so I’m likely to know which kinds of people I’d like to speak with, about what, and what value I might be able to bring to the table for them.
Engage people warmly (so they share with you), listen intently (so they know their words land with you), and follow up soon after (so they know you’re intentional and invested).
This is difficult to do if you’re intent on speaking with everyone at a shindig and putting a card in every hand in between attempts to get on the microphone. I’m a fan of cultivating strategic connections so that all parties involved draw something genuine and meaningful from the exchange.
When I’ve connected with people, their stories and searches become part of my networking landscape. When I’m moving in a space, I’m constantly thinking about how others might benefit from communities I belong to and connections I’ve already made. I don’t believe in pulling up one chair – I believe in bringing people along with you…even if they’re on the other side of the world.
If I had to sum up my networking “rules”, it’d go something like this
- Know your narrative so you can make it stand out in a crowd.
- Be aware of your priorities so you’re strategic and open.
- Be prepared without being predatory – bear in mind how you can provide value while remembering that people are more than their connections.
- Most important of all, get yourself a beer and make new friends.
I’m a Guinness woman through and through, but I stick to Stella while networking.
Here are some communities just waiting to be graced with your presence. For more networking tips, read the full article here.
- Society of Grownups
- Mass Innovation Nights
- Creative Mornings – Boston
- Network After Work – Boston
- Opus Affair
- General Assembly – Boston
- Cards: Vistaprint / Moo
- Personality: 16Personalities
- Apps: Good.co (Android / iPhone) and Savvy (Android / iPhone)
Take a look at the original post here.