~When you think of "Networking" what do you envision?
Do you depict an image of professionals standing shoulder to shoulder with name tags on their button down shirts? How about a panel of professionals situated in a brainstorm-style focus group? Maybe even a denim-attired happy hour? What about a room filled with creatives sipping well drinks discussing a NY Giants win?
Among the popular responses above, the common theme I see is, "Networking takes place during an organized pre-planned event such as; a group gathering, conference/meeting, or a social circle." Networking events have incredibly high merits and I encourage both applicants seeking work, as well as happily employed professionals to attend these functions for continual professional development. A common misconception about Networking events, is that Networking needs to take place in a group setting.
Tackling Misconceptions - What is Effective Networking?
Effective Networking is done everywhere as long as you are open to communication. Let's face it, we live in a society of "Me Time" where we can pop in our ear phones and shut out opportunities. You know what "Me Time" is -- it's the time for your personal interests, exercise habits, and love of technology. As a society, we don't always have interest in conversing during our downtime. And that's okay, because we totally need our personal space! The reality is, potential relationships can be formed at any given moment, as long as you're open to it. Professionals don't realize what they're losing out on by disconnecting!
I've been informed of numerous opportunities where professionals connect as a result of unplanned encounters versus pre-planned events. These encounters have resulted in someone's next job placement. Some examples of unplanned networking encounters include: conversations during your daily commute to an from work or school, walking your dog around your neighborhood, or even being an active listener while shopping on your lunch break!
As people, we are inherently drawn to talking about ourselves and our "Net-worth." By becoming an active listener and opening ourselves to new surroundings, the opportunity presents itself for demand where we can be the supplier.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Networking isn't limited to group events, it's communication that can happen anywhere, as long as you show up with your undivided attention. So take out your headphones for a minute and start listening! You could end up building relationships where you never thought you could find them.
Jana Kleinman - Creative & Media Talent Manager / Staffing, Golden Retriever
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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