Rebecca Andruszka explains easy ways to build networking into your daily routine.
“When people say, ‘networking’, they’re really talking about meeting new people who working in the same industry that they do. In normal parlance, this could be called, ‘making friends’,” she wrote, adding that having good connections is critical in any profession.
Making use of natural opportunities to connect with people can be easier than you think.
1. Start Internally
Networking with your colleagues is easily overlooked, but in some ways is the most efficient way of networking.
“I make sure to attend any trainings they have and schedule time to grab coffee or lunch whenever our schedules allow,” wrote Andruszka.
“I’ve learned the most valuable information about strategic planning and evaluation methods from my program colleagues.”
While your colleague may not be able to give you specific advice to your role, they will almost certainly have contacts and skills that you could benefit from.
2. Rethink conferences
Thinking about ways you can contribute to the teaching, rather than just the learning in a conference situation will make sure people see you as an asset rather than a time waster, according to Andruszka.
“While I’m attending a workshop or panel, for example, I try to think about how I can help each attendee in the room,” she wrote.
“Either I can ask a smart question during the Q&A time, or I can follow up with individuals afterward and offer my resources.”
Offering your expertise can open up doors in the future.
3. Introduce yourself to your heroes
Reaching out to your competition might have a surprising result. Instead of a hostile response, it is likely that reaching out will flatter your peer and give you some great ideas.
“Rather than being concerned about competition, my fellow fundraiser was flattered to hear from me and spent a good 60 minutes graciously explaining the evolution of the event and the resources she needed from her leadership team to make it happen,” wrote Andruszka.