Few people love networking. It’s one of those things you have to be good at to get ahead because it’s all about who you know in business. However, nobody really enjoys doing it. The truth is, it really is an art. Good networking happens after a long and well-planned series of gestures, not unlike when creating art. One move that’s too aggressive, too fast, or too bold, and suddenly the whole thing is ruined.
You can’t avoid networking forever unless you’re happy to stay exactly where you are in your career. And even then, you may not get to keep that position since someone who is good at – you guessed it – networking could be vying for your spot. It’s important to reframe the way you look at the practice. True and effective networking actually happens when you grow real relationships with people you respect. Once those connections are created, after some time, and when appropriate, you may find mutually beneficial ways to collaborate. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Beyond that, it is important to avoid some glaring networking mistakes. We went over those with Watchen Nyanue, CEO of I Choose The Ladder.
Networking takes time, and that’s one thing you can’t force. “A red flag in networking situations is when people get too familiar too quickly,” Nyanue says. “For example, we met one time, and suddenly the outreach is like we’ve been friends for life. It seems like you’re trying to move the relationship along at a pace that’s not natural, and it comes across as off-putting. Just because you’ve met somebody one time doesn’t mean they’re a part of your network. In my network there are people who I know that know my work and whose work I also know. So if you just met someone, you don’t know much about them. Focus more on the relationship-building aspect of networking instead of ‘This person has a great title.’ Pace yourself.”