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What is the most effective way to network with people?

I am currently struggling with being more social since I am more of an introverted person. However, I am challenging myself to be more open to other people and try to be nicer because sometimes I can come off as angry or pessimistic which is what I am not trying to do with people. #social-networking #networking

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Stephen’s Answer

I can completely relate as a person that certainly leans towards the introverted side of the scale. Early in my career I was in a position that was very heads down and I sat in my cube all day long. It did not take me long to realize that there is an important distinction between being introverted and being alone. I really liked the company I worked for but was not happy with the isolation of the role. I decided to make a change that would push me out of my comfort zone. I left the company and became a PC trainer. I was now standing in front of a classroom of people, interacting with new people every day. To this day I still consider myself introverted, but I have pushed myself to be in jobs and roles where I interact with people.


I believe that one of the best ways to network with people, particularly in a professional setting, is with Linkedin. Create a profile and establish some interests and the system will connect you to other people with similar backgrounds and experiences that you can reach out to virtually to get introductions and ease that awkward first contact


Hope this helps

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Chris’s Answer

Hi, Jesel. I am also an introvert, so I feel your pain here. One thing that has helped me tremendously has been curiosity.


If you open yourself up to being curious about other people (their families, their experience, their hobbies, etc), a lot of conversations become a lot easier, even fun. Asking questions, really listening to the responses, and minimizing talking about yourself will help you build connections with people in a way that's very natural. If you are open to it, it's surprising how interesting people can be and what you can learn from them (at least it was to me).


I would say, don't focus so much on "networking". Focus more on learning about people and building relationships and you'll have a lot more success and fun. You'll also learn a lot about yourself and others that you wouldn't have otherwise - and that will help tremendously with being aware of and influencing how other people perceive you.


These ideas totally apply to online conversations as well discussions in meat-space. If you're following people on Twitter (or wherever else) that you'd like to know better, it's way more effective to ask a question than post "Here's my opinion about what you just wrote."


Chris recommends the following next steps:

Read this: https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034
For a week, focus on asking questions and minimizing how much you talk about yourself.
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Simeon’s Answer

It's important to remember that you need to build bridges before you need them. If you find yourself in need of a bridge right now, it's already too late. One of the first things to remember with networking is that it's difficult to network above your employment level, meaning you'll have the easiest time networking with people who are just like you. Networking is more of a long-game thing. Once the friends you've made are doing better off, they are likely to turn around and help you find a position as well. Trying to network to managers and recruiters is not really different than a normal cold-call asking for job positions. Go to events if you can, but don't forget to reach out to the people that you already know. Try to build connections with people you have genuine chemistry and connection with if possible. It won't do you much good to go to a networking event and make generic small talk with people and then swap business cards. Think about how likely you would be to recommend someone like that for a job opening. How would you know you could recommend them at all? You need to find people you naturally connect with who will positively remember you and be excited to have you join their company some day.
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