Do you feel uncomfortable networking? Maybe better questions include: Do you enjoy helping friends and acquaintances? Are you a good listener? Do you like to party?? Then, you may be better at networking than you think. So, maybe it is the word “networking” that is the culprit. Think of it as enjoying yourself at events.
Of course, you need to be a good listener and ask questions to learn as much as you can about a person you meet, so you can determine if you can help them and whether they may be a good candidate for your network.
As I’ve mentioned before, you already know everything about yourself, so don’t waste time with that when it would be better spent learning about the other person. Remember the one who talks the most during an encounter is the one who thinks the meeting was the most successful. Make that the person who might be a good additional to your network.
Stephen Seckler, formerly a recruiter who now coaches lawyers, has some basic tips on networking in an article on JDSupra.com that I ran across on LinkedIn. Maybe these tips can help you:
- Ask people about their personal (and professional) interests for ideas on how you may be able to help them;
- Then help people in some way to reach their goals, e.g., if someone your interested in is raising money for charity, pitch in;
- Do some research prior to an event on people you know will be there;
- Offer to introduce people to others in your network who they might be interested in;
- ALWAYS follow up after meeting someone at an event (handwritten note, email, invite to lunch, send information of interest, etc., etc.) that is a candidate for your network.
Pretty basic, but may just make you more comfortable with networking.