Everyone has been building the skill of networking since the age of 3, we just may not have realized
As I am starting out my professional career in the world of business and marketing, I have constantly heard the notion of how important networking is. I consider networking to be one of the most important talents to continuously learn and build upon, however I would like to suggest the idea that we have all been building the skill of “networking” since the age of 3, we just may not have realized.
In elementary school when forming relationships, everybody used the exact same capabilities as we do now in order to be our best at networking. When meeting new friends or classmates at 12 years old, I can look back to how much I learned from so many different people I came across and the conversations that I had in order to get to know them at that time. When networking, above all else, you’re getting to know somebody and it is important to you that you leave a lasting impression on the people that you meet.
In high school, I was always asked: What classes are you taking? What do you want to do following high school? Are you going to join the work force rather than do more school? Where are you going for post-secondary? Conversations in University then turned into, what is your major? What classes do you suggest I take? What do you want to do when you graduate? These were not conversations I was only having, everybody to this day has had those conversations at some point and that was a form of networking at that time in our lives.
What I am getting at here is that we all have the necessary skills in order to successfully network, yet we get caught up in the thought of it sometimes taking ourselves too outside of our comfort zone. When your next coffee or networking session is coming up, go in there and show off your character and attributes as necessary, and truly learn something about someone else that can benefit you and them moving forward. Always listen to what your networker has to say and try to ask them legitimate questions to stimulate a conversation.
In order to prepare for a “networking session,” just know yourself and questions that can build a strong conversation. Why should someone else be interested in what I am saying? What can I speak about that may be unique or different that my networker will remember me? How can I positively affect the person I am meeting? Do your best to say something that your networker will remember when you leave them, as making a lasting impression can go a long way days, months, and even years down the road.
Be yourself when networking, do not be something you’re not. The worst thing someone can do is lie when networking as it can come back to bite you. Again, know yourself and your attributes and stay within that when speaking about yourself and you will continuously get better at the notion of networking.
Networking does not and should not always be business. That’s why I bring up this idea of networking since the age of 3. Networking is one hundred percent a talent that needs to be learned appropriately, however we have all have been building the skills in order to continuously get better at networking since we were born.
Networking seems to shout out as a way to build leads, find a job, or better one’s business. However I believe it doesn’t have to be that at all. When you go to your best friend’s birthday party next month and have conversations with good friends, old friends, acquaintances, and people you have never met before, that is an element of networking. Networking happens each and every day of our lives, it just may not be labelled as that.
So the next time you go to a networking event don’t feel uncomfortable, treat it as something you do every day, as this is something you have been doing since you were 3 years old, you just may not have realized.
Cory Georgiadis, Content Contributor