How To Make Networking the Best Gift You Can Give!
‘Tis the season and you deserve a break, so I would like to suggest we take the work out of “network” this December. If you’re getting out there anyway and going to have some fun with friends, family, peers and colleagues here are 6 ways to turn your networking into the most valuable gift you can give this season. Since networking is about building relationships, meaningful conversation, asking questions and listening, use this December to practice the Gift of Networking.
A Mindset of Giving
Seems obvious, right, since this is the season, but one of the biggest mistakes people make when networking is going into it with the mindset of “what can I get out of this?” No doubt, having a clear set of goals and what you want to gain from your networking efforts is very important, but that is not what its all about. A common assumption is the thinking that you don’t have anything to give back, particularly if you are not working. This is not true at all and in fact if you go into any environment where you are going to have the opportunity to connect with people, focusing on how you might be able to help someone else is what can really propel your networking efforts forward.
A mindset of giving is the foundation of truly successful networking. Developing your reputation as someone who is interested, helpful, and trustworthy will lead the way for others to willingly and generously want to help you in times of need. If this was not your understanding of networking before, what better time to start.
The Gift of Listening
In order to really engage with someone, the best thing you can do is listen. In fact, listening is the greatest gift you can give anybody because you are giving someone the chance to tell their story. I learned this weekend after a powerful experience with an organization called Narativ, that there is no story without a listener. However, we humans are easily distracted, and considering these stressful times, we tend to get caught up in our own thoughts, concerns and anxieties that prevent us from listening fully. It has also been found that, despite conventional wisdom, introverts do a better job at “networking” in the long term, because they tend not to talk as much and are therefore, better listeners. So if you can work on putting those anxieties aside, stop talking for a while, and practice the art and skill of listening, you might be amazed at what you will hear.
So, pay-it-forward (where you can) and put some good will out there this December, everyone will be very grateful and you won’t be forgotten. Two gifts for the price of $0.
To read part 2 of the Gift of Networking click here