Think of a particular business or professional goal you may have. What type of people and environments should you align yourself with that would be helpful in meeting this goal? For those of you who may not know how to go about looking for networking venues a simple internet search can help. Try connecting to groups of like minded people on Meetup.com or search for events on mediabistro.com. LinkedIn has been amazingly beneficial for me in terms of networking. Something simple like actually messaging the people whose request you accept or that you request, opens the doors to actual conversation. There are some people who judge the success of social media outlets by how many people they have on a page or site, and do not take the time to strike up conversations with the viable pool of resources they actually have.
Let me reiterate, networking should be strategic and conducive to your intended goal. Every event does not have to be attended, and although, there are lots of free networking events, everything free isn't always conducive, just as fee based networking events do not always guarantee you will come out more connected than when you went in. It is all about balance.
Meeting new people can be intimidating, but remember be yourself. There is nothing wrong with sitting back and listening. However be mindful that appearing too reserved may make you appear standoffish, unapproachable or disinterested. Pay attention to the communication styles of others and pick up styles that attract you. Then incorporate them into your own style. Take notice that I said INCORPORATE not ABANDON your own style. Staying true to yourself is always key.
Most importantly, networking requires a level of reciprocity. Our dynamic life and business experiences make us knowledgeable about something. Do not allow that reprehensible word self-doubt overpower you. Confidently offer what you can to a conversation, while adding a warm smile and firm handshake to the mix. These simple steps I hope will take you a long way in your relationship building process.
Cheers to Success,
Tish-Author of the popular novel Heads or Tails? Geminis Don't Choose