Written By Christina Kanu (@MissKanu)
I was having a conversation with one of the greatest people I know Elle Harris. Normally our conversations end out in philosophical discussions about life. Today we had a conversation about the death of networking.
According to Effective Networking Proven Techniques for Career Success by Venda Raye-Johnson “The greatest leadership skill is the networking skill”. Networking is a key component to leadership at any level. How can a person expect to meet anyone or advance your career or leadership if you do not network ? Networking is not simply having 10K followers on InstaGram or Twitter.
I have outlined 5 causes of death for networking. I also have provided solutions to revive the art of networking.
When people attend events they are on their phone. If you go to an event and you leave knowing the same number of people you knew before entering that door then it is a problem. The purpose of socializing or attending events is to get to know other people. If your face is buried in your phone you may have missed your next client or opportunity. They literally walked right in front of you while you were liking pictures. People are less likely inclined to approach you if you appear busy. Try leaving your phone in your pocket or your purse. Face to face interaction is still needed and necessary in 2015.
Also just because you follow a person on social media does not mean you know them. If you meet a person at an event and you already follow them that does not give you a pass to not speak to them.
Fear of Rejection
People are often scared to be rejected. Life is full of rejection. However, you have to still give it a try. When you are at an event do not be scared to strike a conversation with someone. The worst they can do is not speak. Most of the time at events people want to meet other people. They love hearing about what others do and talking about what they do. I have seen it before my eyes where people become business partners after a 15 minute conversation. You never know what will happen until you give it a try.
Sometimes you have to attend an event by yourself. Not every event is meant for your best friend, boo, bae, roommate, coworker, neighbor, sorority sister, fraternity brother, family member, etc to attend with you. Sometimes you have to attend on your own. It will be a little weird at first but it is for your own benefit. It is a great way to have the opportunity to maneuver the room and talk to as many people as you would like. It does not make you look like a loner if you attend an event on your own. You actually stand out more because it shows that you are capable of being independent. If you do attend with friends try splitting up. Spend some time with each other and then start getting to know other people. This is also another strategy because you may meet someone who you can connect with someone else that you came with.
Misconception about opportunities
Opportunities do not fall from the sky. In order to chase after your dreams you have to sprint towards them. It is very easy to become complacent and wait for people to approach you. Over time people will start to seek you for things and not the opposite. Until then, chase your dreams without stopping. Do not become over-confident and think you are too big for a networking event.
Sometimes the best networking opportunities will cost you a few pennies. Not everything in life will be free. Do not be discouraged by attending events that charge you. A lot of the time those are the best events to attend. They are either more intimate, the food is better, and the people who are attend are experts in that particular field. I am a firm believer in investing in you. Now that does not mean spend all of your money on networking. However, if it means attending a breakfast, brunch, luncheon, or dinner on the occasion then plan to have that in your budget.
If you have read this far and you are still saying “Christina I am scared” well then here is the only thing I can say. The only way to break your fear of networking is to go out and do it. Networking NEVER killed anyone.
In the words of whoever said it first “Your NETWORK is your NET WORTH”
If you attend a networking event after reading this article email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear your success story !
Featured Image Photo Cred Jill Ozovek