Yes, it is not easy. It sucks. And yes, you have to do it anyway (at least if you are in DC). But I don’t want you to give up (‘m still working on that too, believe me!). Besides expanding your professional network (Forbes Magazine says that anywhere between 50-85% of jobs are filled through networking), sometimes networking can be fun as well and you don’t exactly have to go and enjoy meeting complete strangers at stuffy events.
Here are three things that I’m starting to practice and you can keep in mind when you start getting frustrated about the “networking thing”:
First: It’s just about meeting new people
I’m pretty sure you have done this before… on a party or wedding, on a queue or in the dentist’s waiting room. But hearing the word “networking” give you goosebumps, so instead of thinking about the whole process of networking, think about what you like about meeting new people, then name that process as the moment for sharing ideas, hearing or giving advice or talking with some one-on-one.
Second: Do it your way, YOUR WAY
Make the process fun for you. Do you like Game of Thrones? Have you read a new book? Are passionate about Thai food? Why don’t start your conversations with this random topics? Give yourself permission to meet new people the way that is easiest for you. It is not a competition on who meet more people. If you prefer the smalls groups or one-on-one talks, schedule a meeting and go for a coffee instead of going to large anonymous gatherings.
Third: Bring your buddy!
Ask your buddy to come with you an event, you will have a better time for sure. You will have someone to chat with nobody is around, and someone you can use as an excuse to end a conversation (I personally like this one). Why not starting meeting people together? and it could even happen that they already know someone in the event.
So, let’s do it!
Sources: Deb Elbaum – Forbes Magazine