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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Networking Doesn't Have To Be Scary

There was a time when networking was only done at job fairs, professional meetings or conferences. The opportunities to network in those settings were extremely limited. Unless you were armed with a handful of business cards or a stack of resumes, you were more than likely ill-prepared for a successful event.

Fortunately that has all changed.


Look Inside First
One of the misconceptions about networking is that it is only done outside of your organization. Nothing could be further from the truth! Regardless of the size of your company, there are good people that you can network with right now. You might be asking yourself the following questions:

- Who should I reach out to?
- How should I ask them?
- What would we talk about?

These are all great questions and the key is to focus on the word "questions." As you identify key leaders, peers, or simply those who are well respected, using questions is a great way to learn about them and their perspective. Asking questions is also the fastest way to get a conversation started!

It is appropriate for you to clarify that you are trying to learn more about the organization and want to learn as much as you can about how the company operates. You will impress those you are reaching out to for your initiative, and will simultaneously be networking.

Look Outside Second
The prospect of building your network outside of your current organization can at first seem a bit daunting. This is the perfect opportunity to integrate social media into your efforts.

The first step is using Linkedin and can be a powerful platform to reach out to those in your field, as well as those you admire from other industries. If you don't have a Linkedin profile yet you need to set one up. Today!

Other social tools can be very helpful as well including TwitterFacebook pages (not necessarily individual accounts) and Pinterest. Following and connecting with others allows  you to comment on their activity, react to their blog posts, and join Linkedin groups that will open many doors.

Go For It
Gone are the days that you need to wait for a specific event to pop up on your calendar before any networking can occur. Leveraging your own organization, as well as the social networks available will help you expand your network much faster than ever before.

Be sure to check out our social channels and connect with us too!

-Jay




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