3 Networking Myths Debunked
By: Itzik Amiel, Bestselling Author of ‘The Attention Switch’; Founder & CEO, Power Networking Academy & Michael Soto, Co-Founder of Spark Collaboration
It is important to network. Networking well is critical to your success. You’ve undoubtedly heard that before, but what is networking? At its core it is about building relationships, but too often people go about it the wrong way, leaving us feeling dirty when we network. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Here we debunk three networking myths to help you get the most out of it.
1. Networking takes place outside your workplace
If you think that networking is reserved for happy hours and other so called ‘networking events’, you are missing out on internal networking.
This is especially true if you work at a large company. When was the last time you spoke to someone on a different floor or different building? Think about the last time you needed help with something. Did you know who to call? Did you already have a relationship with that person, or did you have to introduce yourself?
All around you are people with similar interests and objectives, don’t limit yourself to speaking to the handful of people on your work team or those that happen to be sitting in the same part of the office as you.
Obviously, the people that we work with on a daily basis, those in our department, will be the ones we interact with the most at work. But getting to know the people in your company outside of your immediate team is valuable to your career in both the short and long term.
Connections encourage people to care about each other, which boosts morale and makes every day more pleasant.
Rather than leaving work to go network, network while you are at work.
2. Networking is about meeting new people
Everyone is looking for new people, what are they looking for the golden goose!
Too often, the focus of networking is to go out and find someone new. This overlooks the vast wealth that already exists in our network and keep in mind that it is much easier to build upon a relationship than to start a new one from scratch.
Don’t assume that you know everything about the people in your network, take the time to learn about other sides of the people you know.
Each of us is a reservoir of insight, but often times we don’t share it because we don’t think it is relevant. But it could be precisely the story that someone else needs.
If you approach others with endless curiosity and give them your genuine attention you will almost surely be surprised about other areas of interest and experience you didn’t know about.
Not only that, keep in mind that if you take a network perspective, you will realize each person you know has an entire other set of individuals that you probably do not know.
Rather than go look for new people, learn more about the people that you do know.
How can you discover other sides of the people you know?
Go with them to different places, share new stories to learn new things about them.
3. To Network well, follow the ‘network star’
Often times we look up to the suave networker who seems to know everyone and can start a conversation with anyone.
This may leave you thinking, “I can’t do that.”
Even if that is the case, relax because you don’t have to.
Networking effectively is not about following a script or a set plan to win people over. Networking is about building relationships, and the best way to do so is by being yourself. Be authentic, don’t follow my way but make your own way.
Networking IS NOT a soft skill, especially not in the connecting age! It is the heart of whatever business you are in.
Build good relationships with the people around you and there will be trust. Build trust and you don’t need to spend as much money to get things done.
But you can’t build trust if you are being inauthentic and putting on a show.
Be yourself, and approach others with curiosity and respect.