I recently got this question from a client, does it resonate with you?
“When I think of networking with people I don’t know, I’m afraid that I will meet people who know more than me or have experience and they will think I’m a poser or that I’m trying to get something from them. It kind of feels like an interview, instead of a conversation. Maybe I feel that way because I am trying to get something and I feel that I’m imposing on them.”
Have you ever felt this way about networking? Like your only purpose in being there is to get something?
If so, flip this mindset around altogether.
Stop looking for what you can get and start looking for what you can give.
Focus on this as your sole purpose for networking and the benefits will be enormous.
When you feel like an impostor or that you have nothing to offer, you are not in your power and that lack of confidence can destroy a great opportunity for connection.
Instead, ask yourself these three questions when meeting a new person:
- What can I do to help my new acquaintance?
- What knowledge and resources (articles, organizations, associations, books, podcasts, etc.) do I know about that I could recommend?
- Who do I know that is doing similar work that would be a good connection for them?
As you listen to them talk, what comes to mind that’s connected to what they are talking about?
How can you use that insight to be helpful?
For example, if your new connection is talking about hiring a new website design team, who do you know that builds websites or recently went through the process that you could connect them to?
Being generous is the KEY to networking.
You’ll feel more joy by helping others and build confidence in what you have to offer the world. Your generosity will inspire others to give to you in return (without you having to ask), which is a win-win for all humankind and your sanity.
Often when you are of service to others, they are more inclined to be helpful in return. Then you can be more specific about what you would like from them. (If you don’t know what to ask for, check out these questions as a starting point.)
Network to give, not to get and you’ll find that networking is actually like making friends, which is way more fun anyway!
How have you networked to give, not to get?