How Do I Start Networking?

child-817369_960_720Networking is hard!  It is daunting, time consuming, and often confusing – especially if you aren’t a natural at networking.  You probably already know how valuable networking can be; it can help you get your day-to-day work done, advance your career, lead to a new job, or open new social groups.  Networking has brought me several job opportunities and is how I met my wife (friends of friends, bar crawl, long story – but don’t forget new social groups is networking).

How do you get started with networking?

There are 1000 and 1 things you can do to be a good networker, but let’s distill how you should start to a single item: pick one person this week to meet for lunch, grab a coffee with, or have an afterwork drink.  It is that simple!  Pick someone who you know, but not well – an acquaintance who you want to know better.  Think about why you want to know them better:

  • Are they someone who is great to know for business or your career?
  • Are they someone you met at a party and would just like to know better because you think they are cool?
  • Are they someone who you use to be close with, but have lost touch?

After the meeting, build the relationship further by sending them a quick note via email, text, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Snapchat thanking them for the great conversation.  In a few weeks, but no longer than a month or two, follow up with another get-together.

But that’s just the start.  Make a personal goal of meeting with a different acquaintance every week.  Once you become comfortable with a weekly meet up, increase your networking to two different people a week and eventually make habitual contact with at least three different people a week.  You’ll be amazed how easily you’ll get into a regular routine and how quickly you’ve strengthened and expanded your network!

Updated post originally appearing at HobbNobb.

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