The Power of Networking
By Melissa Newman
Raise your hand if the thought of networking makes you break out into a cold sweat. Yeah, me too. As someone who considers themselves an introvert, I can think of a thousand things I’d rather do than attend a networking event. Getting my teeth cleaned, scooping out my two cat’s litter box, or spending all day in bed with a stomach virus are just a few that come to mind. You get the picture.
However, now that I have made the career transition from health care into business, I knew it was a necessity that I would have to become more comfortable with. However, after a year of practicing, it has become more comfortable. And I want to inspire you, whether you consider yourself an introvert or not, that it doesn’t have to be a chore or excruciating experience. And the more you do it, the greater reward and benefits that you receive.
So, here is what I have learned so far in my own experience in networking. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet new people while building new skills. As a way to make networking feel more organic, I have chosen to attend conferences in fields that I’m passionate about such as entrepreneurship or technology, to make things easier. It makes it easier to strike-up a conversation with a stranger when you have a workshop in common. It can help you land a new job. Recently, when I was completing an informational interview with a User Experience Designer, she shared that you had gotten her current position upon a recommendation by a colleague that she had met from a networking event. You never know when a dream position might open-up and a pivotal connection can put in a good word on your behalf. It’s a way to solve problems and gain new ideas. Obviously, with respect to confidentially, but something when we present an issue that we are facing at work to an outsider it’s an excellent way to look at it with a fresh perspective.