You might not realize it, but you may be keeping your career from growing by not networking. Though it requires time and effort, networking is essential to your career growth.
Whether we like it or not, networking is a must-have life skill for employees(and employers).
Here are some tips to help you get rid of your networking excuses:
1. Too shy. Do you find you’re shy when talking to new people? Start with small steps. Make a goal to start online, or meet just one new person a week. Think of networking as an opportunity to develop your social skills.
Keep in mind that there are people out there who are also afraid of meeting new people, but they’ve managed to get over their shyness for the sake of their careers and personal growth. Perhaps you can ask for help from friends who enjoy networking. They may be able to help you connect with their network at the same time.
2. Not knowing anyone. Everyone knows someone.Think about all of the people you know.You know your colleagues, past co-workers, friends and even your family. Though they may have different professional interests, don’t dismiss them.
You can create a list of people you may want to reach out to every week. Focus on creating genuine connections. Never blurt out that you’re looking for a job. Networking is not only about asking for favors —It’s also about building and maintaining relationships.
3. Not knowing what to talk about. You can always start with small talk and a few questions. You can also ask questions about the person you’re talking to and what they do.
For a more comfortable in-person conversation, look up the person you’re going to talk to online and find out more about them using LinkedIn and other social media platforms. You may be surprised to find out that you share something in common.
4. Too busy to network. Remind yourself that networking doesn’t really take that long. You just have to set your schedule ahead of time and make it happen. You can always squeeze in networking early in the morning, during your lunchbreak or after office hours. Feel free to meet new people on the weekends. Just make sure to accommodate the other person’s schedule with each meeting.
It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and take your networking skills to the next level, and just a few small changes can make it easy.