So many people I talk to tell me that they have a strong dislike for networking. They say that it’s awkward, uncomfortable, feels phony… they say they don’t who to reach out to, what to talk about, where to be… they say they are introverts or new to their industries or too busy. I think it is all probably code for fear. Fear is a strong emotion that influences much of our decision-making and thought processes. As such, we each need to assess our tolerance for risk.
I suppose I could characterize networking as risky business. You could put yourself out there and there may not be anyone on the other side to greet you. You may reach out to someone to ask for a networking meeting; they may never respond. You might find yourself face-to-face with a person who works in your dream job… they could be hiring… you may worry that you’re not going to make the cut.
But… what if the opposite happened? What if you find yourself at a networking event and a friendly stranger invites you to sit with her and her colleagues? What if the person you ask for coffee gives you and enthusiastic, “Yes!” What if you meet with someone who is looking for a candidate exactly like you? What if it all goes your way? Wouldn’t it have been worth the risk?
And, really, what if one out of every hundred networking interactions doesn’t go great? Who cares? Pick yourself up, dust off your slacks and carry on!
No risk… no reward. You can do this. Visualize what you want. Inhale. Exhale. Dive in!