March 07, 2024

4 Ideas for Networking Authentically : Diplomacy Toolbox

The mere thought of networking can be paralyzing for a lot of young professionals. "Where do I begin?" "Who do I talk to?" "What do I ask?" "How do I set networking goals?" are all questions we've asked at some point. Because building these relationships are beneficial personally and professionally, shifting how we approach networking can dispel some of these fears. Instead of viewing networking as a transactional activity focused solely on personal gain, reframe it as an opportunity to establish meaningful relationships. Approach each interaction with curiosity and a desire to connect with others on a human level. Here are 4 ideas to shift how you network:

1. Look at People on a Humanistic Level

Rather than seeing individuals as mere stepping stones to career advancement, strive to connect with them on a personal level. Prepare for networking experiences by reflecting on your own experiences and values, allowing you to engage authentically with others. By shifting your perspective and seeing everyone as fellow humans with their own unique stories and experiences, you can build genuine connections that go beyond superficial networking.

2. Consider How You Make People Feel

In every interaction, consider the impact you have on others. Do you empower them with your words and actions? Do you genuinely care about their well-being and aspirations? By prioritizing empathy and understanding, you can create an environment where people feel valued and respected. Take the time to listen actively and show genuine interest in others' perspectives, making them feel heard and appreciated.

3. Being Genuine and Listening with Intent

Authenticity is key in networking. Instead of focusing solely on your own agenda, take the time to understand what makes the other person tick. What are their hopes, dreams, and aspirations? By listening with intent and asking thoughtful questions, you can deepen your understanding of their needs and interests. This genuine approach fosters trust and lays the foundation for meaningful relationships.

4. Act and Follow Up

Networking doesn't end with the initial conversation; it's crucial to follow up and nurture connections over time. After a networking event or conversation, take proactive steps to maintain the relationship. Send a personalized follow-up email expressing gratitude for the conversation and suggesting further collaboration or discussion. By demonstrating your commitment to building a genuine connection, you can solidify the relationship and pave the way for future opportunities.

Networking shouldn’t be just about exchanging business cards or making superficial connections. We should strive to foster genuine relationships with authenticity and a humanistic perspective.

Come practice your networking skills in a relaxed setting at our free monthly Professional Development Workshops. To further expand your network, check out our mentorship page!


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