This week has been all about networking. Well, I network online every day, but this week has been about networking in person. I find it easier and less intimidating to connect with others via this blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, but virtual networking can only take you so far. You network with people, not computers, or RSS feeds, or tweets.
It’s people who help people. Every good thing that has happened to me via this blog has happened not just because of the effort that I put into it, but because other people help me. They help connect me with a company or with another blogger or with themselves. People who were once strangers contribute to my success and I hope to contribute to the success of others.
The thing about people is that they are flesh and blood. Connecting with a person in person, is tops…can’t be beat. I can see your avatar online everyday, but the day I actually get to look in your eyes, shake your hand, or give you a hug, is the day that we take it to the next level.
But what if you are shy and find it uncomfortable to network in person? What if it feels disingenuous to approach people you’ve never seen in person and start talking? What then?
Do it anyway! Slap a smile on your face, walk up to a person, look them in the eyes, introduce yourself, and engage them. We’re all just people. We all get nervous, we all have insecurities.
If you know you are going to be in a situation where you will be approaching others and that makes you nervous, practice. Practice what you’ll say ahead of time. Practice how you will introduce yourself.
Another very important thing to remember is that it is not all about you. Yes, practice what you are going to say, but also practice listening. Listen to the people you meet. Ask them questions and then really listen to their answers.
And now your Friday Fortune Cookie
(don’t forget to add “in bed” at the end, if you are so inclined):
If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there. -Richard Kiyosake
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