Recently, I attended a local event hosted by SoFi, an innovative finance company, about getting the most out of networking. One interesting takeaway that I have been thinking a lot about is the ‘give to get’ mentality associated with networking.
First of all, networking is usually awkward. There are few people out there who feel that networking is enjoyable, as evidenced by our initial question where almost no one raised their hand when asked if they genuinely love networking. But it’s necessary, and we do it – so shouldn’t we be focusing on how to enjoy it?
This is where my main takeaway comes into play: give and forget the get.
If you enter into networking or an informational interview with the idea that you want to help someone or that you have something to offer them, it completely changes the game from “I want this person to give me a job.” Although this may seem challenging at first, you can “forget the get” with these 3 changes:
- Listening intently
Actually listening while someone talks may seem like an obvious point, but if you’re too busy worrying about how you will interject that you’d like to work with them, odds are that you aren’t really listening. Take a break from all of that and ask impactful questions to find out what their business needs – and let the conversation flow naturally from there.
- Offering help or solving a problem
This may sound a lot like ‘give me a job,’ but it’s not. Maybe the position isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse, but you could refer a friend. Or if you can’t truly solve their need, ask for their information and pass it along to anyone you meet later who could do that. This person will remember your good gesture, even if it didn’t ‘get’ you a job right away – and it could pay off in the long run.
- Staying in touch
The biggest mistake we all make is building a great network and never using it! Often times, we will wait until we are in a position where we need something to tap into our contacts. If you flip this on its head and focus on keeping relationships going and giving assistance where you can, you’re more likely to have success when you actually need your network.
Try this approach actively for the next 30 days and see how it changes your network!
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