Networking is about creating an extended family. It's about developing connections, caring about people, increasing the size of your "tribe." Most of all, networking is not the awkward social ritual many of us think it is -- networking is actually FUN!
Here are my top six networking essentials to rock your career -- and your life.
Top six career networking tips
Practice "palm up" networking
When you network, are you giving, or grasping? Palm up networking embodies the spirit of service, of giving and wanting nothing in return. When you network "palm down" you're grasping for personal gain. Palm up = heart-oriented interaction. Palm down = greedy grasping. Which attitude results in building relationships, providing value, and ultimately bestows benefits on both parties? You guessed it. The universe has a perfect accounting system. Give to others, it'll all come back to you in time.
Do daily appreciation
Appreciate at least one person daily. Sometimes I do this via e-mail so I can be thorough. And often, to my delight, the recipient will tell me that they are saving the message for when they need a pick-me-up. You can also express appreciation over the phone or in person. Simply tell someone how much you appreciate who they are, what they do, whatever about them moves you. They'll be flattered and you'll feel great.
Equalize yourself with others
I believe we all have one unit of worth, no more, no less. No one can add to it, no one can take it away. We're all equal. Just because someone is powerful, rich, famous doesn't mean they are better than you. Practice equalizing yourself with others-this will enable you to more comfortably interact with others, and to reach out to people of all walks of life.
This is a fun practice when you want to connect with someone but aren't sure who. Flip through your contact database and pick a name. Then think of all the things you like about them. Now call them up to see how they are doing. They'll be surprised and delighted.
Pick a "sensei of the day"
Each day I pick a sensei, a teacher. This is someone who has taught me a lesson or reminded me of something important in life. Your sensei can be a person, a pet, a plant, it doesn't matter. The important thing is to acknowledge that there is much to learn and you are being offered valuable lessons constantly.
Do the drive-by schmooze.
Parties, conventions, groups of all sorts are great opportunities to network, but sometimes you'll be tired, not in the mood, or have too many events in one evening (like during holiday season!). This is when you'll want to use the Drive-By Schmooze. Here's how:
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