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    6 Steps to Networking without Networking

    Sometimes it’s useful to understand molecular chemistry! This isn’t some sort of test; it’s just about the concept of understanding how individual molecules attach to one other and build out into a stronger structure. Every molecular structure starts somewhere and when it comes to networking in order to build your own support structure, you are the starting point. Get a blank sheet of paper and put your own name in the middle it.  Think about how you’re going to build out your structure without any sort of pressure on you to network in the traditional sense. Following the steps below will help you on your way.

    List Your Close Contacts

    Add the names of the people that you know to the sheet of paper. Start with those who are closest to your world—not closest to your work world but closest to you personally. Networking without networking is about natural interaction and flow, which is what you have in personal relationships; relationships where there is unconditional love, trust and liking.

    Write Down Who Your Target(s) Are

    If you wish, you can put down on the same sheet of paper the name of a person or employer that you’re targeting in order to further your career. Plan how you’re going to work your way from the personal contacts on the sheet of paper to that person, or indeed those people if you choose to have more than one target.

    Think of Colleagues / Family / Friends

    Turn your focus to the other people you’ve come to know throughout your life. Our social identity as human beings is deeply connected to people that we like and who like us. Sometimes we’ll use a generic or collective term such as ‘family’ to describe that system of connections of which we’re a part, but there are other connected systems that we will have operated within. These include the schools, college or university you attended, where you will have gotten to know the people on the course you studied and the fellow members of the clubs and societies you were a part of. Other ecosystems you were a part of may include sports clubs, community groups, church-related communities and so on.

    Re-Connect With Your Contacts

    As you think about this, you’ll begin to feel that there are a huge number of people you have a connection with in the present or past. Focus on engaging with these people. Doing so is not difficult as the connection is already established. 

    Use Eye Contact

    Harness the power of eye contact. In one of the UK’s leading business schools, there is a new professor of networking and what she has to say about the core skill of networking is very interesting. She believes that it is eye contact, in the face-to-face encounters, that is right at heart of networking. Networking is a social interaction and nothing beats face-to-face personal interaction.

    Get Personal

    Strike up a conversation that actually means something to the other person. Networking is very much about you being interested in the person that you’re speaking to. It’s not about asking so who are you, how come you’ve come to this place, to this event etc. The question you ask is ‘how are you’? It makes for a very different conversation when you ask them how they are. You get a response that’s coming from feelings. Take an interest in whether the person is feeling up and energetic or low and exhausted. That combination of asking the right question and taking an interest in the answer is at the heart of all personal, human conversation. 

    It’s about conversation; it’s not about networking—except that it is - and therein lays the magic of networking. The best networker will never even know that that’s what they are doing. Their relationship with people includes their natural interest in them. It is the same level of interest that they’ll have when they’re with their family. The other people are just an extension of their natural social circles.

    Our eBook 135 Networking Career Tips offers more advice and quick tips on how to harness your network effectively. 

    More advice on networking:

    5 Top Tips for Nurturing Your Network
    10 Ways to Make Your Network Work Harder
    6 Ways to Make Yourself More Charming

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