It’s something we know we should do, but for most of us it’s about as much fun as a dental procedure.
Networking can improve your job prospects, increase brand awareness and broaden your circle of influence, but the notion of enduring hours of awkward chatter with strangers can be daunting. It’s often the last thing you feel like doing after a long day of work.
However, there is good news. Networking is no longer the drudgery it once was. The whole concept has changed, and you needn’t dread it.
Try these five approaches to make networking a breeze instead of a stressful squeeze:
Make it part of something you’re already doing. You don’t have to be at a conference, sporting a branded lanyard and swilling mediocre wine to forge relevant business connections.
Networking can happen anytime, anywhere. So, introduce yourself to the other team and the spectators at a company softball game. Shake hands with your table partner at a workshop. Create a group for like-minded professionals in your industry on a relevant social media platform, or invite potential clients to meet at your favorite coffee shop.
Why not turn your hobbies into networking opportunities? Networking is much less painful when you meet people on your turf, on your terms and in a setting where you’re comfortable.