Professional Development Forum

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  • 1.  Networking for the Networking Haters

    Posted 11-05-2021 13:29

    As some of us are slowly, cautiously and awkwardly beginning to return to social events, meetings, and offices (which we've talked about here), I'm feeling a bit out of practice when it comes to networking with new people and even re-connecting with colleagues and others I've simply lost touch with.  

    But then I came across this great article by Dr. Amantha Imber, titled "Easy Networking Tips for the Networking Haters".  Dr. Imber is the founder of behavioral science consultancy Inventium and the host of the "How I Work", podcast, which focuses on the habits and rituals of the world's most successful people.

    The article offers some great ideas for the networking averse, like reframing its very definition to include existing networks in addition to meeting new people; to seek out other like-minded, 'hesitant' networkers; and to even gamify the entire process.  I'd love to hear from other Connectors what your tips are for overcoming an aversion to networking and small talk.  Whether you are attending events in the real world or confined to the virtual realm, how do you make networking easier, or even, dare I say, enjoyable?  Please share! 

    Brian King

  • 2.  RE: Networking for the Networking Haters

    Posted 11-05-2021 16:58
    Hi, @Brian King! Although I'm not a natural at networking, I love asking questions of others, so that's my fallback when I'm around strangers. --  What brings you here? Who else do you know here? What's your connection to XXX. --  Once someone starts talking, I can just ask more questions! And having read enough of the kinds of articles like the one Dr. Imber wrote, I'm now really confident that almost everyone feels uncomfortable and lost at networking events. Keeping that in mind sort of tethers me to the ground so I don't fell all floaty and lost. I still don't care to do the hard work of networking, but having some strategies like the ones in the article really do help. ​

    Maria Mooshil

  • 3.  RE: Networking for the Networking Haters

    Posted 11-17-2021 11:30
    Thanks @Brian King for sharing this article! I am super uncomfortable in large groups, and networking is pretty much a nightmare scenario for me. I am more comfortable engaging in deep topics with one person, and light small talk with someone I just met is another nightmare scenario for me!

    I really like the article's suggestion to "look for islands"--people in odd-numbered groups. Since people tend to interact in groups of two, even within a larger group, I can add myself to an "island" to make the group an even number and start talking with the third wheel person, haha.

    Additionally, ​I recently attended an online training called, The Introverted Leader. They suggested The Four P's for networking, which has some overlap with your article: Prepare icebreaker questions ahead of time, be Present in the moment when talking and listening, Push out of my comfort zone (but not so far so that I am freaking out), and Practice by intentionally looking for opportunities; practice can make networking a familiar activity.

    Yikes! But I'm finding that I really do want to find opportunities to practice so that being in large groups becomes more comfortable for me...possibly a New Year's resolution?

    Maria Liccardo

  • 4.  RE: Networking for the Networking Haters

    Posted 11-17-2021 14:11
    @Maria Liccardo - I also enjoyed the islands advice, and feel like this is a tactic I've used before without really realizing it. (Good job, past Quinn!) I also really like the idea of reaching out to "dormant ties" (folks in my network who I haven't touched base with in a while). I've never really considered it unless it's been something really specific. (As in, "oh, my friend so-and-so works for that organization, I wonder how she's handled a similar problem.") Reaching out to reconnect seems like a good goal in 2022.

    A friend of mine keeps a running list of possible conversation topics on her phone, which I think is brilliant because usually at some point, we're all gravitating to our phones for some reason or another. Instead of doing a quick look at a text, she opens the list and picks something to ask the group/person she's talking to. 

    #networking #icebreaker​​

    Stay awesome,