You've heard it said, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Perhaps not entirely true—what you know is certainly important. However, the essence is to convey the immense power of relationships.
Although meeting one person may not get you to your goal, that person may certainly connect you with someone else who can. Building your relationships is like filling a pond up with stepping stones to cross over.
Regardless of what industry you are involved in, if you are not intentionally looking to network, you are forfeiting great opportunities. On the other hand, if you are continually meeting people but not building the relationship, then you are simply not networking well and failing to capitalize on potential advancements in your career.
Here are 5 major reasons you're failing with networking:
1. Not Turning-Up.
There are a multitude of conferences, summits, and events held throughout the year relating to your work. The major reason employees don't turn-up is because the content of the events do not appeal to them.
The speakers are boring...it goes for too long...it's the same stuff every year…
Who cares about the speakers and content, think of all like-minded people at these events you'll be able to connect with! This should be a major motivation for turning up to more conferences.
2. Being Intimidated.
Everyone is a little intimidated by those who are more advanced in their careers. While it may be true that there is nothing you could offer them. You’d be surprised at the amount of leaders that are willing to mentor those who are early in their career.
It’s easy to network with others in the same position as you; it feels ‘safer.’ But if you really want to make progress, reach out to the leaders in your field.
3. The Silent Treatment.
You’ve done the great work of striking up a conversation and asking for their business card, but now it’s just sitting on your desk. Simply shoot them a brief email saying that you enjoyed the meeting and look forward to any potential collaborative work in the future.
Even if you’re the one who passed along your card, there’s nothing wrong with being the first one to make contact.
4. Not Having a Card.
You should always carry business cards. Not only for large gatherings and conferences, but also for random meetings in the supermarket or on the train. You never know who you’ll run into. Trying to find a piece of paper and pen just isn't impressive.
For those who are not established in a career, or have not even found a job. You’ll tell yourself there’s no point in having a card. That’s your lizard brain and the “Impostor Syndrome” talking. Ignore that voice that says you are not good enough or not ready and get yourself a nice card with your name, email, and phone number.
Networking is crucial especially for those who are trying to get a foot in the door.
5. Staying Offline.
Most leaders in respective fields will have an online presence and perhaps a blog. Get involved by commenting and interacting with others who visit the same site. This is a great way to network with likeminded folks who are in different parts of the world.
If you become a consistent contributor with comments, there’s much more of a chance you’ll directly communicate with the main author and build a relationship.
There are also online groups represented on every social media platform such as LinkedIn. Begin to connect with likeminded people on these sites. Find out when the next conference and event is. Generate some constructive conversations.
Online networking can be a goldmine, neglecting this is one major reason your networking is weak.
Remember it isn’t simply about networking, but networking effectively. Make sure you are not failing and be able to check these five boxes.