I am sure you’ve heard people say ‘It’s all in who you know’. Whether you want to get into an exclusive event or party, get that next job or get that discount at a store, it’s all in who you know. This ultimately boils down to connections and relationships. This is why networking has become a big thing for people, especially entrepreneurs, who are looking for joint venture partners and clients.
Networking is usually an activity of going to an event, repeatedly giving your elevator pitch, maybe talking about the weather and giving out your business cards. As a society we have networking all wrong - there is more to networking than just this! Networking is really about creating deep and meaningful connections with people we wouldn’t have necessarily met in an everyday context. The point of networking is to get us to that next phase of our career, which might be a promotion or to further build our business. Networking is this magical vital tool that we have been using incorrectly. A lot of the time, I’ve noticed that people go to these events hoping and wishing to share what they do and see what they can get from as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this is not how deep and meaningful connections work. Establishing deep and meaningful connections will likely get you recommendations whereas with brief encounters, you'll be lucky if anyone will remember you let alone recommend you. Nobody likes receiving a sales pitch out of context; it reeks of a desperation mind set.
What I recommend to get you into the next phase of your career is practicing active listening, so that when you get to a networking event you enable the next person to have a platform to share more about themselves. These days at networking events, everybody is eager to speak about what they offer. If you offer yourself as an active listener in networking spaces, you will stand out and you will gather key information that will tell you if there is some synergy between yourself and the other person (do they have a connection somewhere you've applied?; Are they desperately in need of your services). Remember, you can guide the conversation based on the questions you ask!
So…to get to the next phase of your career…
1. Get into different spaces with different people.
2. Actively listen. You can do this by asking questions and seeing how you can help someone else. At the end of the day, the people you genuinely connect with will be more than willing to help you make that next move in your career.