The old saying of its not what you know, it’s who you know, is true. Building a strong network is important, it can boost your career development and even get you a new job. However, for many, introverted tendencies can make networking difficultly awkward. Here are 5 key skills you need to focus on to become a natural charmer.
The power of sites like LinkedIn is enormous if used correctly. Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with professionals you may never get the opportunity to meet. Additionally, it eradicates the issue of distance, allowing you to connect with people around the world. Interested in a non-profit job in Los Angeles perhaps? Try connecting with somebody who already lives there or has recently worked at the company. This gives you the opportunity to somebody before you arrive and get the lowdown on the organisation.
The secret to networking isn't to attend a networking event and pass out as many business cards as you can. It's not meeting as many people as possible in hopes something will work out. Instead, concentrate on creating real connections with people who can help you most. Authenticity is key.
In a networking situation, people expect you to ask them for help. If you turn that around and offer support too, your networking partner will be grateful and want to return the favor.
We've all had people who will contact us out of the blue after years of never touching base. When that happens, you typically don't want to go out of your way for them because they haven't put any effort into sustaining the relationship. After you choose the right people to network with, remember to stay in contact with them, organise to meet for a coffee or to discuss if their previous issue was dealt with.
When you start networking, have things to contribute to a conversation by keeping up to date with industry news. Follow the right people on social media, sign up to weekly newsletters and keep an eye out for podcasts by those in the non-profit industry.
Most of all, be authentic to yourself, you will never make lasting connections with real value if you are trying to be someone else. Networking is tricky, and whilst we are not all blessed with charisma, we can develop it using these skills.