*Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation is iconic and an all-time favorite, but this is unfortunately not the ideal way to network. Remember that it’s important to be an active listener! (Though we can appreciate how ingenious Ron was for using the swivel chair to his advantage.)
Networking. It’s a term that you may start to hear more often as you begin your professional career.
What is networking though, and how do we practice it?
Networking is about making connections with other people, and it is a process that you are already doing every day when you talk with others! The essence behind effective networking is great communication skills. Networking is incredibly powerful and it can often be vital to advancing your career. However, remember that the essence of networking is human connections and relationships and it’s not really about business at all. Here are some tips on how to network successfully:
Be Curious: Sometimes, when we’re networking, we feel that we need to have this whole passion pitch rehearsed and script memorized, but the real power in networking comes from the person that we’re trying to learn from. Lean in with curiosity and be an active listener.
Become an Active Listener: Be an active listener and make sure to hear and digest what the other party is saying to you. Listening carefully can lead to great and impactful follow-up questions or responses which are crucial when building a relationship. As the age-old saying goes, “Treat others how you want to be treated”. We all want to be heard and valued, and it means a lot when we receive such positive treatment from others. Click here if you would like to learn more on how to be an active listener.
Network With Sincerity: This is perhaps the most important tip. While networking can lead to amazing opportunities, remember that it’s about building authentic relationships.
Ask the Right Questions: Asking the right questions can go a long way and take the conversation in directions that you never imagined. We all need the right prompt to be put at ease and display our authentic, natural selves. Keep your questions positive, and you will be sure to be on the right path! For an interesting read on the power of questions and further discussion on how to ask the right ones, click on the following link: How to Ask Great Questions (hbr.org)
You are unique and important. Hold onto that truth as you navigate the world around you. Networking can seem daunting but remember to be confident in yourself and who you are. You don’t need to have the perfect conversation every time you talk with someone! Remember that you are enough. Networking is simply a process for you to share who you are, learn about others, and gain a deeper insight and understanding of yourself and the wonderful people around you. We wish you the best of luck as you continue to network in your life—you are going to do great!
* The tips from the post were taken from the following resource.
Want to learn more about networking? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or click the following link to sign up for one of our career-success workshops where we go over networking and other important topics like soft-skills, interview prep, and more! You can also check out our workbooks to further develop your skills on your own.