Sincerity and Networking Go Hand in HandPosted on
We live in an era where networking is a necessity. Our professional networks lead to more business opportunities, a greater source of connections, and meaningful experiences. What’s important to keep in mind is that networking is about making valuable, sincere connections with others.
Before we dive in, I need to make something very clear. Networking is not about collecting business cards like candy or adding a long list of LinkedIn connections in hopes of getting ahead in your career. If you’re in a conversation and you’re thinking “What can this person offer me?” the whole time, you’re not engaging — you’re plotting.
Focus on giving
What can you offer others? How can you help them accomplish their goals? Maybe you can help out with a project they’re working on and contribute your skills and expertise. Or you can simply include others — invite coworkers out for lunch or get them to join you on a sports team outside the office. Think about all of the people who have given to you over the years and who have been exceptional mentors and leaders — emulate them. By providing value to your network, you set yourself apart and build a positive reputation in the workplace.
Selena Soo, founder of S2 Groupe, puts it very nicely:
Always start out as the giver, not the taker. Networking is not a transaction. When you think more about what you can give than what you can get, you’ll come off as less self-promotional and more sincere.
Focus on active listening
Listen to understand, not to respond. Active listening is more than just hearing words — it’s making a conscious effort to understand a person. Concentrate on what people say and recap your conversation to show them you’re engaged. By asking questions and seeking clarity, you show the other person that you’re sincerely interested in what they have to say.
Active listening is so important for building relationships and networking — when you listen, you learn. By listening to others, we find commonalities we share and form sincere connections.
Focus on building authentic connections
Authentic networking may sound like a contradiction, but it’s not. Networking authentically is about sincerely highlighting individuals that support others. Find your common interests and have a genuine conversation — sincerity should always be at the forefront of networking.
Forget about self-promotion and getting ahead. Build authentic connections with others by sharing your story and your passions. Connect on common experiences and interests — you’ll be surprised by what you learn about others and where those conversations can take you.
The root of every connection is sincerity and seeking to understand others. Take the time to truly listen and hear people’s stories and find ways that you can add value to their lives. Not every connection is going to turn into an impactful relationship, but if you stay sincere in your interactions, you’re bound to make real connections and leave a lasting impression.
Practice networking at your family gathering this Thanksgiving holiday. Give, listen, and build authentic connections with the people around you.