5 Tips For The Connection Challenged To Create Successful Networks
Creating and sustaining networks is part of today’s success culture. But the focus these days seems to be on quantity and not quality.
How many business cards did you get? How many LinkedIn connections do you have? How many Twitter followers and Facebook friends? It’s enough to throw anyone over the edge, especially those that shy away from networking.
We all know someone that seems to be a natural at building relationships, but what if it doesn’t come that easily for you? Many of us become anxious, stressed out, and go into procrastination mode when it comes to creating connections with others, especially in business. But the bottom line? You have to jump in and do it if you’re going to create success.
Below are 5 tips to help the “connection challenged” build and maintain relationships:
1.Networking is a skill to be learned and practiced. This is important, because we sometimes forget that networking is a skill. Instead we try to be someone or something we’re not when meeting others, and that’s the source of much of our frustration and anxiety. To hone your skills, begin by offering someone you know and feel comfortable with some helpful information. It could be an article, a website, or book that fits a personal or business interest. Practice this – or something like it – two or three times per week.
2.Approach someone by asking them for advice. Does striking up a conversation with someone in person or via email make you sweat? Do you feel like you’re asking for something or bothering that person? Switch your perspective. For example, if you’re considering a career change or starting your own business and you meet someone you admire, ask her if she could give you some advice on the next steps to take. I’ve never had anyone turn me down with that approach.
3.Get out of your comfort zone. Whenever we’re learning and practicing a new skill there will be discomfort – it’s all part of the process. To make any forward progress we have to stretch ourselves beyond what we already know.
4.Remind yourself that you do have something to offer others. We each have unique skills and qualities to contribute. When you begin reaching out to others and see a positive response, it will build your confidence in the value you provide to your network.
5.Run your own race. Remember that you’re building relationships with others, not on a mad dash to collect business cards and hone your elevator pitch.