When you think about networking, do you look forward to the chance to meet new people? Or are you filled with dread? Often, it’s the way we approach networking that colors the experience. Perhaps the biggest misconception about networking is that either you get it or you don’t. In reality, it takes some practice, but anyone can develop networking skills.
Many people assume that they are terrible at networking and that it’s an innate skill they just weren’t born with. However, networking is a learned skill. While it’s true that some people are naturally inclined to chat up strangers, that doesn’t mean they’re better at networking. In fact, some researchers think people who have to push outside of their comfort zones to network can be more successful.
What about the friends you already have? Isn’t that the only network you need? Wrong. The people around you already have the same perspective and information you have. If you don’t reach out further, you’re missing opportunities to broaden their circles. It’s those individuals on the outer ring of your network that will help you grow professionally.
For more tips, read the full article from the Harvard Business Review.