Does that word make you shudder?
For many, networking feels uncomfortable. The concept feels disingenuous, unnatural. Part of that discomfort stems from the caricature of the “always be closing” businessperson.
Take a fresh approach to networking with a new mindset, one coined by Hubspot earlier this year: “Always be helping.”
That shift helped me, a raging introvert, get past many of my uncomfortable feelings around networking. Instead of approaching a person or an event focusing on professional connections or building my business, which doesn’t feel natural to me when meeting new people, I can instead ask, “How can I help?” Sometimes the question is a literal one as someone explains to you the challenge they’re facing with their business, blog, rabbit, horse, or whatever you’re discussing. An easy, “How can I help?” builds a bridge to that connection.
It’s a positive, open, friendly place to be when approaching a person or event. In fact, with the weekend upon us and the possibility of social activities ahead, here’s a roundup of our four best posts on networking tips, tricks, and hacks.
Are you someone who works for (or by) yourself? While you can run a business solely on the internet these days, it helps to get out there and make personal connections to grow your business. Here are tips for the pet blogging freelancer, the person who spends most of his or her time working from home.
Do you believe one of these five myths about networking? I believed number five for a long time. But, thankfully, this post dismantles those myths with actionable truths that can be applied in any scenario. Plus, check out the resource included listing 25 places to network your blog!
Last year, guest poster Angie Bailey shared four networking tips that help an aspiring author get a book out there and published. This practical post with reassuring tips–including a sprinkling from the always hilarious Mittens–gives big-picture networking advice for someone who isn’t sure where to even begin.
Rounding out the collection, of course, is one specifically for the introverts in the crowd. These tips give you a safe place to start (online! with other pet friends!) and then build from there. No two introverts are the same, of course, but the discomfort surrounding networking does seem universal within that group. Stay true to yourself while taking advantage of these tips.
At the end of the day, networking shouldn’t be all about selling yourself. Rather, it should be about making genuine, personal connections. If you’re someone who feels uncomfortable about networking, or if you just want to brush up on your skills, spend some time going through those posts with notebook and pen in hand. Jot down what resonates and consider how you can apply it as you socialize this weekend. For me, it’s always coming back to one simple idea: Always be helping.
Are you a natural at networking? What have you found to work (or not work) when networking? What is your number one tip?
Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.