Genuine Networking

Have you ever had a conversation with someone only to collectively realize you shared something in common? Perhaps you exchanged emails and decided to meet up for coffee sometime to further discuss that similarity - whether it be work, passion, or goal. You networked. I took a business course a few months back and the biggest thing they harped on was networking and I can really see why. It's so important!!! In all walks and aspects of life, networking can really help you out because the more people you know, the more connections you have, and the more connections you have, the better off you are. It welcomes in new opportunities, builds relationships, and can help you get ahead. There are a number of jobs and apartment openings that aren't even advertised - it's all about who you know. The more you network, the more likely chance you have of running into someone who can help you and vice versa. However, the traditional style of networking usually seems to entail engagement in small talk (yawn), fake smiles, and asking, "So, what do you do?" It can feel forced and uncomfortable, especially for introverts like myself. Lucky for you and I, there is a more sincere and genuine way to go about networking. It's not always about passing business cards. It's called friendship. Adding a personal touch to your relationships. And let me tell you something, finding like-minded people to connect and make friends is the best.

Say hello
Let's say you're scrolling through social media and you see a photo or post on someone's travels or interests or a project they're working on. Send over a quick message and thoughtfully comment on it, making a brief and genuine connection. Making that initial, friendly acknowledge of your similarity can go a long way in keeping the relationship fresh and moving forward. And while we're on the topic of social media, I should mention that social media is a marvelous tool for networking. I can't tell you how many inspiring and creative individuals I've met, who I know consider friends, that I never would have met otherwise.

Host a happy hour
Instead of meeting up somewhere, invite new friends and colleagues over for a happy hour. Tell them to invite their other colleagues. Provide drinks and snacks and turn your favorite Spotify playlist on shuffle for background noise. I feel like inviting people over to your home says, "Hey, you're not JUST a person I work with for business (or whatever the case may be), I also genuinely consider you a friend."

Networking Events
Events created with the purpose of networking is great because everyone is there for the same reason as you. Have some friends tag along and go as a group. It will make the whole experience less awkward because you'll have each other to bounce off for conversation. Networking events are GREAT for meeting tons of new people and discovering new ideas and perspectives. Also, networking events don't have to just be these fancy seminars where everyone stands around with a cocktail in hand, networking events can be anything. A group of people getting together, doing something fun, and getting to meet each other. Just get out and meet new friendly faces! 

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