How to network effectively – why is it so hard?

Learning how to network isn’t difficult but many people confuse networking with being social. In fact, networking is about connecting people in your circle with those that can collaborate. Whereas being social is about conversing with people you already know and like.

Let’s look at the basics of networking in more detail.

people at table while networking

What is Networking?

How can I build my network without feeling like I’m pushing myself?

Why Network if I Feel Uncomfortable?

 Anyone can network, and it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

How to Network Effectively

Building your network the right way means making it enjoyable so you get more from it.

What is networking?

 

Learning how to network is essentially just getting to know like-minded people that can help you grow your career prospects. Networking events, like the ones we source, are ideal platforms for meeting people with the same goals as yours.

When you interact with others at events you build a network of professional contacts, and these contacts come with their own unique set of skills and resources. A contact may have a job opportunity that arises in the future that fits your skills exactly. Or if you don’t have the right skills, you may know someone else in your network that does!

Your job is to simply find out what a person does, what skills they have and remember this information for later use.

While there can be, and often is, a social element to networking, social activities should never be the main focus of your networking.

What can networking do?

Building good relationships with your contacts can prove beneficial to all parties involved in your network. Successful networking can help people find a job, recruit staff, find customers, investors and more!

The secret is to keep building and strengthening your network. The larger your network, the greater the chance of finding a job through word of mouth or knowing someone who would be perfect for a role that’s just come up.

girl on phone networking

Why network if I feel uncomfortable?

Networking is such an important skill to have in today’s market place that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t develop some aptitude in this area. You may be an introvert or feel shy at first. But like any professional skill you can become better at networking with a little practise. The good thing about networking is that anyone can do it. 

Here are a few of the soft skills you need to be an effective networker:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Good listener
  • Problem solver
  • Good observer
  • Ability to read others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Can keep confidences
  • Good at keeping in contact.

As you can see, these are skills that don’t necessarily equate with being a big shot or the most outgoing person in the world!

Why don’t people like networking?

girl on phone networking

How to network effectively

If you want to learn how to network or to become a better networker, then here are 3 tips to make it easier.

1. Get involved in genuine networking events

This will connect you with others with the same goals. Once you find a networking environment that is inspiring and suits your values and goals, then you’ll really start to grow your network.

2. Be prepared to practice

To be successful at networking you need to be prepared to learn what to do and to practice it consistently. The best networkers contribute by building trusted relationships, following up with people and by giving first.

Remember networking is about focusing on who you can help and making connections based on information you’ve gathered. Networking is NOT about forming cliques or thinking about your own needs first.

3. Get a network coach

A network coach can give you the tools you need to become a successful networker. Our volunteers that help with Relevant Networking Events can start you on the right track to having a strong and successful network of contacts.

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