There’s no doubt that Networking is a great way to fast track your career. When you network, you increase the likelihood of being hired and receiving promotions. However, finding appropriate networking opportunities isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. If you attempt to network in the wrong way or in the wrong place, the repercussions could move your career backward instead of forward. Here are five networking ideas to give your professional career a kickstart in 2020.
1. Feel More Comfortable
If you’re uncomfortable at networking events, you may avoid attending in the first place. Learn to feel more comfortable by adjusting how you think about networking. Networking has a long history. From the very beginning of commerce, people have wanted to be in business with others that they know and trust. If they didn’t know someone personally, that person would offer a reference — a name that was familiar to both of them. That’s networking in its purest form. Essentially, networking is just a meet and greet where people congregate to find things in common with other career-minded people. Hopefully, this will make you feel more comfortable about the whole networking process.
2. Choose Appropriate Networking Venues
The next order of business is to make a list of good networking venues. You can find local events specifically dedicated to networking in your city event calendar and on sites such as Meetup.com. You’ll also want to leverage your own private memberships. For example, if you belong to the country club and golf in Brooksville, you can use your visits to network with fellow members.
3. Listen and Learn
One of the most common mistakes that inexperienced networkers make is to talk too much about their own projects. A successful networker understands that others are more impressed if you can demonstrate that you are a good listener. Strive to listen more than you speak. You’ll learn more that way and you’ll make a better impression on fellow attendees.
4. Follow Through on Promises
It’s no use making new connections unless you follow through on your promises to them. When you meet new people at the networking event, you’ll probably tell them that you’ll get in touch at some point in the future. Make sure that you do so. As soon as you get back home, organize all the business cards you’ve collected. Enter dates into your calendar so you can be sure to get back to your new contacts in a timely manner. Following through on your promises is an integral part of proper networking etiquette. It will show people that you are reliable and dependable.
5. Host Your Own Networking Event
Another great way to give your professional career a kickstart in 2020 is to host your own networking event. Doing so will establish you as a leader rather than a follower. To host your own networking event, determine the theme and size of the event. Once you’ve decided on a theme, rent out a venue and send out invitations. The beauty of this idea is that you can invite attendees you haven’t personally met yet, which will increase your own networking circle.
These five networking ideas will give your professional career a kickstart in 2020. Remember, the first step is to make the decision to attend more networking events. Once you do that, the rest will fall into place.
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