4 Ways to Make Networking Less Awkward
Perhaps you dread the return of in-person networking events or are just uncertain of the expectations when you are there. If networking feels transactional and unnatural, you're not alone. Here are four tips to help with networking, especially if you haven’t done it in years:
Reframe. Instead of seeing networking as a phony, opportunistic interaction, consider it a genuine opportunity to make a meaningful connection.
What can you offer? Think about what you have to offer in a situation; don't just focus on what you need. For example, if you ask for career advice or support, you allow them to help you. Remember, many people want to help.
Enjoy learning about others. Before meeting someone new, research them, but do so to find something interesting rather than memorizing the "right" questions to ask to make a good impression. It's a subtle mindset shift, but it can make a difference.
Be honest. Don’t try to hide who you are, even if that means openly expressing discomfort with networking (it may surprise you how many people share your feelings).