Networking, everyone knows, is one key to business success, but for those who are new to the practice of making and keeping contacts, the whole concept can be a little confusing. So, are you just supposed to glad hand anyone who can help you? Isn't it weird to get to know someone just for what they can do for you? I already make friends with all the cool people I can, how is networking any different from that? Thankfully, Brazen Careerist blogger Anthony Portuesi is offering to clear up some of the confusion by outlining three common networking myths:
So if you're not exactly an extrovert but you're convinced that networking has value -- as long as you can do it with a fair degree of authenticity -- take courage, shy people can be the best networkers, as long as they master their technique. Nerd-friendly magazine CIO can get you started with their 12 tips on networking for shy people, including advice to start with friends and relatives, stop apologizing and tap into your passions to find clubs and activities where like-minded people congregate.
- Networking is for self-promoting schmoozers. Networking isn't solely the realm of desperate job seekers or overeager socializers. Nor do you have to hand out business cards like candy in order to network. Networking simply involves making mutual connections, and everyone benefits by forming them.
- Networking is only for salespeople or outgoing personalities. You may not be a salesperson and you may not be outgoing, but you can't deny that business, at its core, is founded upon relationships.... If you neglect your network, you'll be isolated when your life hits a rough patch.
- Networking, by nature, is uncomfortable, forced, and contrived. We tend to imagine networking as speed dating awkwardly applied to the professional level. Nothing could be more inaccurate. The best networkers authentically share themselves (their talents, knowledge, resources) to benefit others.
(Image of shy graffiti by urbanshoregirl, CC 2.0)