Everyone knows that networking is the most important thing you can do for your career. Often, it is the connections you make that lead to a new position or experience. But networking can be a scary process, especially for those who might be shy or introverted. But there is one single thing you can change to make the process less intimidating. Networking isn’t all about you, it is all about connection. So, rather than asking, consider keeping the word “offer” in mind. How do you do that? Here are a few tips.
Online and in person.
Remember, in today’s connected digital economy, you don’t have to limit your networking to events. Make sure you use LinkedIn as a method to connect to professionals in your industry and area. Of course, you should also sprinkle some face-to-face networking into your process as well. Both can be critical to your future success.
What can I do for you?
The next thing to always keep in mind is to ask the question, “What can I do for you?” By offering to help the connections in your network, you are encouraging a reciprocal relationship. You aren’t automatically asking them to help you with something, but by helping them you are making it more likely that they will choose to help you in the future.
Keep generosity in mind.
Your network is made up of a web of potentially interconnected individuals all with different skills. How are they connected? At the very least, they can become connected through you. Keep generosity in mind when you are meeting with a professional who can help you in the future by offering to introduce them to someone who can help them today.
Of course, to make this work, you need to build trust with your network. Do what you say when you offer rather than ask. Always follow through, always stay in touch, and always remain positive with a service mindset. Once you build this level of trust, it will be easy for others in your network to find you trustworthy enough to help in the future.
Make the right introductions.
Lastly, don’t make connections for the sake of making connections. You should be mindful about who you introduce to one another. When you make the right connections, you are only enhancing your network. If someone has a bad experience with a person you’ve referred, they may lose their trust in you as a professional. Be cautious, but don’t be afraid to make the right introductions.
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