Does the thought of reaching out to people you barely know terrify you? Fear not – here are two tips that make networking easy for everyone
For some, networking sounds like excruciating speed-dating with business cards. But however comfortable you might feel around your circle of friends and family, you can not only count on them to help you find a great job or lead you to great professional opportunities. Sometimes, it is necessary to get out of your closest circle to go forward.
Even the most outgoing individuals do not necessarily like to reach out to strangers to make new professional contacts. The way we think about networking can be especially daunting for introverts and the more reclusive among us. For them, filling their agenda with obligatory meetings, meals or coffee dates seems particularly unpleasant.
But there's good news. There's a less taxing form of networking that you can do at your own pace and in your own way - a style often referred to as "loose touch". It can completely change the way you approach making new valuable professional connections.
Connecting with weak ties
You already know more people than you think because you have many “weak ties”. These connections are people you know only slightly and perhaps don’t often think about. You’ve met them in passing, or might have worked together briefly. Or you took a class or attended a conference together. They are friends of friends, former colleagues and schoolmates. You’re not generally in touch with them – but their impact on your network could be huge.
People with whom you have less direct connections are more likely to be part of different social circles and have access to sources of information you are not usually in contact with. Our chances of finding new ideas, leads, or introductions substantially increase if we reach out beyond our usual circle.
Keeping in loose touch
Our second tip is to cultivate the habit of keeping in "loose touch" with people you have been in contact with in a professional context. By starting a practice of maintaining weak and dormant ties, we broaden our social circle significantly. We keep people at a reasonable distance which allows us to reach out to them if we ever need help or advice. This works both ways obviously and you also give the opportunity to more people to reach out to you. By doing so, you multiply the chances of developing fruitful professional relationships. Networking can be more about maintaining relationships than having to go to lengthy in-person meetings if you prefer it that way.
It is about creating a web of help and support in an organic process. You do not create a network overnight.
Nodily is a great tool to maintain relationships, keep track of who you met at professional events and keep in loose touch with that community. By filling your contact list and keeping notes about your encounters, you will be able to reach out to the good person depending on your needs or what you think this person might be interested in. You can then set up a meeting to meet again if you like.
The importance of maintaining your current web can not be overestimated. So introverts, don't worry, you still can be a master of networking without having to reach out constantly to people you never met.
Source : BBC