Networking vs. Connecting
Networking is a necessity for business-students, and it is also part of the equation for success. But networking is not easy for everyone, and it can be pretty challenging for introverted individuals.
My first year in college I would get so uncomfortable in networking events that I would always sneak out quietly 15 minutes after the event had begun. I used to feel inauthentic and uncomfortable when trying to network. I realized that, despite my feelings towards networking, I needed to improve my conversational skills in order to achieve my career goals. Skills obtained from networking help you in situations like interviews or meetings, and mine needed serious polishing.
After failing to feel comfortable or satisfied in multiple networking events, I took a step back and analyzed what exactly was wrong with the whole networking thing. I found what was wrong, and it was my mindset. I went in thinking that I wasn’t going to enjoy it, that I couldn’t really meet anyone through networking events, and that networking had nothing to offer. I was mistaken! I had met so many amazing people through these events, but I had stopped myself from letting them get to know me. This needed to change!
From then on, I started looking at networking as an opportunity to get to know new people that were willing to share their valuable experiences. Networking is always an opportunity for me to improve my communication skills, and to increase my self-confidence. Additionally, it helps me put myself out there! Even though networking is still something that lies outside of my comfort zone, I look forward to instances that allow me to try a little bit harder and become better, and I have made some good connections through networking!
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”Vera Nazarian
I was also pleasantly surprised by realizing how much others actually care. If you have any career-related questions, or say you are planning for a project you want to work on, just share about it with others! People are happy to help you and do so by providing advice and serving as resources. You don’t have to ask people for anything, you just have to share good energy and be willing to receive.
Voilà! Connecting with somebody new is as simple as that.