Let’s face it, not everyone is a born networker…
But, hang on, who exactly is the born networker, surely that’s all of us? Think about it – we all have networks. Our networks could be our family, our friends, our workmates, our neighbours, our community group connections, our teachers and lecturers and so on.
And, if you’re registered with sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then you’re already connected to huge social and global networks. Then, within this virtual network, you’ll have your own people and groups that you like and follow.
You probably have no problem commenting, posting selfies or making your point on a range of topics. And that is more than a bit like networking. And, yet probably millions of people claim that they hate networking! Why is that?
What’s not to like?
Let’s face it, professional networking can be almost as scary as public speaking; which might just be a number one panic trigger for lots of people. It’s the word ‘professional’ that gets people worked up.
Maybe the first thing ‘networking’ conjures up is standing alone at some professional ‘work’ event trying to think of something to say that doesn’t sound stupid. Or, it could be sweating over whether to introduce yourself to someone that you don’t know on LinkedIn or even commenting on Blackboard?
Is it a nagging feeling of not being yourself; projecting a false you, instead of being who you really are? And, if English isn’t your first language and you have to mentally translate on the spot, that’s a bit daunting too.
Only the outgoing can network
You are probably thinking that only really outgoing, chatty, social, millions-of-followers and liked-by-everybody people can make connections effortlessly. Those outgoing and witty people who know everything. They’re the ones going to be offered things like party invitations, work experience placements, job offers or promotions.
And yet, wait a minute… how is it that lots of quiet, sensitive people can still be knowledgeable and seem to be able to handle networking?
We all have networks. We communicate with different people every day in lots of different ways, sometimes we even just need to gesture!
If you want to find out what kind of networker you might be, you can go to a Stop Googling, Start Networking workshop or access this as an online module. If you’re about to graduate, it’s also one of the topics covered in our Graduate Gateway series.