Sometimes, the hardest part of networking is actually making an effort to connect. The idea of talking to people you don’t know can be slightly terrifying. Trust me, I’ve been there. If this is you, start by going to a meetup or an event that someone you know is attending. Anyone. One person is all you need to start. Use that connection to dip your toe in the water. From there, meet others through your first connection and watch your network spread like wildfire.
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, but don’t get too caught up in a personal agenda. If you see an opportunity to offer help to someone or connect them with others, that’s great, just don’t be that person who only wants to know what you can do for them. Nobody likes that guy. Be genuine, be interested, and listen well.
Plan it out
Sometimes you can freeze up when you’re talking to someone you’ve just met, so think of some simple questions you can ask to get to know someone better. One easy way is to talk about things you’re passionate about. Not only will you have plenty to talk about, but you’ll be giving that person a glimpse of the real you. You may not be a boy scout, but like their motto says: Be prepared!
Don’t overlook value
Make sure you don’t dismiss someone just because you can’t immediately see their value. Maybe they’re in the same boat as you, but they may have connections you don’t know about that could be a great benefit to you. Those referrals could turn out to be important one day. Connections with peers can often be the most important connections you can make.
If you’ve made a connection, make sure you follow up. It may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but it will only increase your credibility and value in the other person’s eyes. As your value increases, your connections will increase, and this could lead to personal success down the road.