Networking

Diane Shatto By Diane Shatto, 13th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Life Goals

Does networking terrify you? This article will explain why networking seems so terrifying and how it doesn't have to be!

Taking the Fear Out of Networking

Networking
Just uttering the word terrifies me. Networking is something I am as terrified of as Public Speaking. I'm not talking about the technology of networking that connects computers together. I'm talking about networking people together. And for that I seriously would rather go to the dentist. So I decided to do some research on it- see if I could calm myself down a bit. Like public speaking, is networking something you can learn to become more comfortable with? I discovered, yes, yes you can. The key is to find the right approach and avoid those engaged in the wrong approach.
It used to be that the world really did revolve around any given person. You walk into a room and immediately someone will come up and welcome you. You get a new job and immediately co-workers will surround you, show you the ropes and help you to get oriented on the job. It used to be that you could make friends anywhere because people always embraced the new girl, the new person.
However, the world seems to be changing or maybe I have just broadened my view and gained more experience because since moving to LA I have discovered a different kind of world – one where now if you walk into a room, people stare- you are expected to take the initiative to fit in with them. If you get a new job, you get a place to sit but you are expected to take the initiative and get to know your co-workers. No one embraces the new girl, the new person anymore. At first I thought the whole world had become like this and I began to get scared. But then I realized both types of groups still exist. And nowhere is this reflected more than in the world of networking.
So what is networking? It is all about 'making new acquaintances for mutual benefit- sharing interests, inspiration, knowledge, resources, assistance, introductions, solutions and collaboration'. definition (www.networkingsurvey.com www.relationshipcap.com www.relationshipcapital.co/).
As far as I could tell in my research, there are two basic approaches to networking. Both obtain results. One I call duplicity. The point of this kind of networking is ‘what’s in it for me?’. You have to impress whom you are talking to. Being authentic will not cut it. You must fit someone's idea of the perfect icon or stereotype of some sort. These kinds of people treat networking as if you are talking to them because you need help. They operate by I will scratch your back if you scratch mine philosophy. It is all about balanced manipulation. Everything also is about you measuring up to an image. You can have well developed skills, you can have a great personality, solid ethics and be a solid worker, but if you do not have the ability to network, none of those things will get you anywhere.

No wonder I was so afraid of networking! No wonder so many people are afraid of networking. Fear rejection, lack of confidence, sense of unworthiness, and self-conscious wallflowers- all of this approach creates! The problem is the approach to networking that some groups promote. If you do not fit a first impression, you will be seen as an imposition. Fortunately, I came across a much more user-friendly version for my personality type.
In this version, networking is all about building sincere relationships. The point of networking is for a person to shares his or her unique gifts. Networking is for every type of personality. Introversion and extroversion is merely a need for physiological stimulation. Some people get their energy from other people and being alone saps them of energy. Some people seek out extra stimulation. Whereas other people NEED to be alone to refuel their energy-, stimulation overwhelms them. Being around people saps their energy instead of feeding it. You can be successful at networking either way. On the other hand, both can let shyness get in the way of successful networking. It is true, extroverts can be shy. Have you ever met a person you thought was an introvert and discovered later that they were not? This could be because for some reason or another they could not tap into their own energy and natural extroverted tendencies. Therefore, people mistake them for an introvert when really they were just shy. Have you ever met a person you thought was an extrovert but soon came to realize they were an introvert? This is because they try to overcompensate for their introversion with extroverted behavior.

Luckily, to network you do not have to change your personality type. Networking merely has to do with understanding what networking is and how to approach it in a targeted manner. You do not have to change your whole personality to network! Now that you understand that networking is for everyone, here are some quick proven tips to networking successfully.
Know why you personally want to network. Are you looking to break into a new career? Alternatively, are you just looking to expand the horizon of the career you are in? Do you need advice, referrals or moral support? Everyone has a different reason.
Network online and offline. infoduce.com, LinkedIn, meetup.com and onlineMBA.com (LinkedIn by the way would be the 12th largest country in the world now if it were a country so you do not want to overlook this site!).
Connect. Renew connections you already have: friends, former co-workers, alumni network and people in clubs and activities you have already joined. Get to know just one other person. Maybe they will introduce you to who they know. Do not neglect cold calls. Contact companies you support and that share your values. Send them a CV and resume as a BASIS for establishing a relationship.
What's after hello. So once you start be sure to be authentic. Share your passions, and remember, it’s okay to have weaknesses, to be unpolished or to feel awkward. You want to connect with people who accept you not people you have to be phony with. It is better to be right than to be loud or showy! Showing interest in other people rather in your own ego will give you credibility with those who care about credibility. This in fact is the bottom line: being interested in others not yourself. It seems the opposite of the goal of networking if you look at it from a selfish vantage point. However, you must be interesting in contributing, not building your own ego. If you are only interested in yourself, you will fail. Ego will get you embroiled with the wrong people. Interest will get you connected.

Tags

Connecting, Jobs, Networking, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility, Personal Space, Personalities, Personality, Personality Development

Meet the author

author avatar Diane Shatto
I love to write in my spare time. The extent of my creative writing is poetry. I mostly write about theology but also enjoy tackling random subjects.

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Comments

author avatar Graceful
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Interesting post, and wome great advice too!

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author avatar Graceful
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Interesting post and some great advice too!

Reply to this comment

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