3 Steps to Networking
Previously, I wrote an article about ´Why Learn Another Language´ and one of the benefits is networking. The next question is “How To Network?”
What is networking?
Networking in my definition is simply adding values for others now, in the hopes they will increase yours in the future.
In my case, I was kind to a Spanish friend of mine in school and he introduced me to the right people. 4 years later, now I am working in Spain as a Global Marketing Assistant in a VR start-up. It REALLY is that simple.
Confidence is difficult to learn and varies between personalities. Some people are born more confident than others. It is also a key trait to networking because people perceive confident people as experts and therefore are more willing to listen to what value you have to offer. However, I believe there is a way of pushing your confidence a little further, bit by bit. This is because confidence have a lot to do with a person´s mentality. Confidence comes from within, therefore you can change how you view and believe in something in order to become more confident. Although, traditional methods teach you to have a winning mentality in order to win I believe there is a missing ingredient. If merely thinking that you are going to win increases your chances, how come so many people fail with this mentality. I am sure you have met someone who is confident in themselves but ends up on the losing side. This scenario can span from football, business to study. That is because I believe confidence is more than winning. It is also the confidence in being able to handle rejection or failure. Next time, when you want to approach a person for any reason, think about the cost of rejection compare to the gain of winning their approval, e.g. you look a little silly or they might laugh at you vs they can offer you a job. Once you start thinking this way, rejection doesn’t seem so hard because getting a job far outweighs the cost of the initial misunderstanding. Put it in simple terms, we all get rejected but you are probably one step closer to getting to the correct person.
Empathy is the bridge to networking. Empathy is understanding the other person’s situation and stepping into their shoe. In the end of the day, you can be as confident as you want but, without a common interest it is difficult to make initial contact. For example, if I wasn’t working for a Virtual Reality (VR) company, other VR companies wouldn’t have responded to my emails. I have merely been in my position for 2 months and already I have reached out to different companies across the globe. So, the next person you want to approach, ask yourself “why do they want to talk to you?”. With this in mind you will have the trump card ready to wow the person.
Finally, we cannot deny that luck plays a part in meeting the correct people. However, my advice for you is to think long term. For example, your so call ‘hi, bye’ friends now might just be the person you need in the future. The key to keeping this type of friends in your network is simply to keep them on your neutral side and never become your enemies.
In this piece, I advice everyone to be less afraid of rejections and just give it a go. Like Adidas´ ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ and Nike´s ‘Just do it’, they really speak the truth. Again, it is the happiness in pursuit and not the other way round.
Polo (Global Marketing Assistant at GAZ VR)