In order to have something interesting to do except work and / or studying; in order to get to know like minded and interesting people; in order to be able to find a job and in order to do your business, we should network.
Networking for me is nothing more or less than social gathering where one talk with another, having fun and enjoying yourself, and what eventually bring some benefit for both parties (while connecting you further with a person or company of your interest).
However it does sound easy, not so many people do know how to network.
I have seen so many time, people coming to the event with bulk of business flyer’s and business cards. Instead of engaging in an interesting and meaningful conversation those people where immediately attacking others, filling their hands with the flyer and or business card. Why shall anyone even bother to look at it if one was attacked (not the nicest feeling ever and definitely not the best first impression) and interrupted (while having a good time with others who were actually listening or telling something one could learn or simply enjoy from).
It’s amazing how many people do not even look at you if you are not a ‘’Very Important Person’’, during the networking events (luckily not all of them). Pity, as the person who is not a ‘VIP’’ may actually be the best thing what could happened to you that evening. The ‘’VIP’’ person has lots to do and lots of people around them, however since that person is so much occupy, is he/she really willing to do something for you? Or the ‘’VIP’’ is only just shining in the spotlight of surrounded people?
People tend to not to listen one another unless there is something beneficial for them in return. It is sad as getting to know others give you the best present and if than through your future friendship you are able to gain something for your work / business connection than its only a plus. People want an easy and quick fixed to their desire and do not want to engage in more that its require.
I was looking for a job while ago and have been joining all kind of events. My early stage of networking, I have back than totally different view than I have it now, though I believe I have still the same approach.
One of the very first networking events, here in The Netherlands, was Connecting Women. I arrived to the meeting not knowing what to expect and not knowing anyone. I was thrilled to sit down at the same table with the woman, I have met a month before at one of Webster University event. Nice surprise. I was so energized and inspired by the whole meeting that I decided to join and become a member. Couple of months later, the woman I set at the table, recommended me to become a PR Coordinator at the board where she was one of the board members herself. So not knowing how and what can happened, I went for a meeting (networking) and I stayed ever since. I met lots of inspiring, international, challenging and brave women. Thanks of some I was brave enough to start my own business.
One coach woman, I met (during some networking event) took me under her wings when I told her about my desire to become a coach and she explained me everything. When I asked her why is she so freely giving away her knowledge and experience she said: ‘’I believe that there is enough to all of us’’ – a wise woman, who enable me to be who I am now.
So actually not knowing anything about networking (back than) was my best weapon, as I listen, paid attention to others and truly enjoyed the company. Now knowing what and how, I tend to say hello to everyone I do know at the event (as it is great to see familiar faces and also due to the fact that everybody is busy best way to stay in touch) and at the end I tend to talk to few – so I can enjoy the evening and get to know them.
Do not worry about the fact you do not know how to network and that you are stress of meeting new people. Be yourself and simply have fun. Those who enjoy themselves, project a positive energy and people tend to want to be around them (even if you are not the ‘’VIP’’).
If you are still stress because you do not know anyone, use the social media. Social media nowadays actually are helping tremendously. If you sign in for an event on line most of the time you do see other participants, so nothing more easy than checking them out. Maybe you know someone, or maybe somebody has the same interest as you so you can actually approach that person during the actual networking event and start talking about your common interest.
Therefore, do not worry any more, go out and have fun – the job and/ or the business will come along.