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Professional networking is one of the most important skills you can have when building a successful career. Having an expansive network can help people make a career move. It allows them to connect with potential employers and find a job opening. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of networking. It can be a frightening experience, especially when it involves awkward social situations. Fortunately, there are many ways to make networking fun and easy.

 

Find Opportunities

Finding relevant groups and events is one of the first steps in establishing a professional network. After you have identified a potential networking opportunity, make a plan to attend and commit to it. This can help avoid getting nervous and backing out.

 

Always Have Your Info Ready

One of the essential tools that you should have is a clean and up-to-date business card. This is important since first impressions count, and using an outdated one can quickly turn off potential employers. If your company doesn’t provide business cards, you can always try printing your contact cards.

 

Seek New Connections

While it’s tempting to chat with people you already know at networking events, make sure you’re focused on connecting with those new to you. Also, be bold and introduce yourself. Some prefer to familiarize themselves with an elevator pitch, which summarizes their strengths or role. The goal is to be genuine and confident.

 

Keep Connections Organized

After you’ve made a connection, exchange contact details and business cards. Also, keep the details of the person you’ve just met in your address book. This will allow you to remember them in the future. It’s essential to quickly note the person’s name and job title so you can easily recall them.

 

Be Authentic

Although networking is fun, some people get carried away by the opportunity to sell their services or ask for a favor. Unfortunately, this type of networking can be very beneficial if both parties have no immediate gain. Instead, it should be conducted when both parties can build a long-term relationship. Instead of asking for help, think about how to give back to your network. Doing so will allow you to receive the benefits of your network without having to ask for it.

 

Check-In Periodically

One of the most critical factors you should consider when establishing a professional network is checking in with your connections regularly. For instance, if you notice an article that your colleagues might find interesting, ping them directly. You can also use various networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to connect with people in your network.