Wether you like it or not, networking is the most efficient approach to get your way. Recently, networking has become a great method to do marketing and let the customers come to you instead of you chasing them. Networking is a process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. The process of networking is simple but you need to be strategic. If you are a shy person, then I recommend you to work on your self-confidence, to approach and be approachable. When you have reached that stage of being self-aware and self-confident then it’s time to take the next step.
My first contact I made was at the age of 12 when a writer came to my school to talk about her published books. At that time, I had started reading. A lot. I was fascinated by the pictures that was created in my mind, I was living in the books and forgot all about the reality. So I thought this was an interesting writer I wanted to be in contact with. However, I was too shy at that age to ask for her contacts but my teacher did me the great favour to ask for her email that she gladly shared and that’s when it all began. We started writing to each other back and forth and after some time she was interested in taking a coffee with me. And so we did. She was curious about me and wanted to know about my life, this meeting resulted with us publishing two books. If I had not taken the step of actually writing to her, all this would not have happened. So when people talk about “luck” and “coincidence”, I would say it is all self-made.
When networking, you want to build a relationship. Be selective. Find a person you really want to know more about, someone who inspires you, someone you think can be valuable for your field of interest. So the next question is, where can you find these people? The most common places when you scratch the surface are: Workshops, webinars, organisations, volunteering, online platforms, startup bars, meet-ups in your community or like me, when traveling and social dancing.
When you network there are some things good to keep in mind. Be genuine; the person can tell if you only want this contact for ONE SINGLE REASON. Be curious; if you want to learn, you have to ask. Be helpful; you can give more than you think. Although we are eager to get a valuable contact, keep in mind that offering your help is very appreciated and it makes you transparent. Follow-up; a business card means nothing unless you take the next step and make contact for one-on-one meeting.
In summary, work on yourself, be active and take every chance you get to interact with people and build a sincere relationship.
Now, are you ready to network? You can start here: https://www.meetup.com/