Networking is an aspect of our careers that most shy away from and understandably so. Akin to public speaking, it can get the heart rate bumping and send the sweat mechanism into overdrive. It genuinely terrifies people.
The truth of it all is that networking is FAR easier than you’ve been led to believe.
The bottom line is that networking is practically the most key aspect of our careers and if we don’t learn how to tame this wild beast of a skill, then we will remain stuck at our current level.
How do we improve our networking skills?
Well first of all, we need to accept the fact that what we see in our heads is never what manifests in reality. The nightmare you have of approaching a group of strangers only to have them laugh at your inadequacy: it is only a nightmare. No one is watching you, no one is counting your mistakes or laughing at your attempts at carving out an extraordinary career.
Secondly, there is a niche for every single one of us who is crazy enough to take on this game. For those of you familiar with our branding methodology, I hope this is obvious. For those are the beginning of their journey I say this: you have within you the power to captivate and enchant when you network. You just have to speak about the things that bring you most passion and pleasure in life. Energy and enthusiasm are key to this aspect of networking.
Thirdly (is that a word?), networking is not a once off activity. It is an ongoing, organic and revelatory process that, if you can take the first step, will lead you to a fulfilling and exciting career. You are ALWAYS networking. Whether digitally or otherwise. If you find yourself before professionals of our industry, you MUST remember that everything you do is part of the networking game. I don’t advocate manipulative and conceited “performances” as an audience member. I speak of genuine engagement. Be a great audience member and that will also stay in the minds of others.
Finally (fourthly?), and this is an important one: you simply have to start DOING. Stop thinking of the end goal at this point. Just TALK to someone. Ask questions, introduce yourself, be GENUINELY interested in what the person across from you is all about. Take the focus off yourself and I promise, pretty soon you will be known as a powerful creative.
Hope this helps unlock some potential steps forward for you all re: networking and if not, hit me up and we can chat this through and come up with some crazy techniques.
Talk soon you beauts.