By Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs
Networking is about meeting your own needs, as well as helping others address their own. In other words, it's a reciprocal process oriented towards building long-term mutually beneficial relationships–both with individuals from diverse walks of life and affiliations as well as within organizations where you work or volunteer.
Students often express concerns about coming across too strong and/or inappropriately when networking for a specific reason. To alleviate your fears, consider how you approach others when seeking to connect.
• Are you genuinely interested in them?
• Do you want to help them while also meeting your needs?
• Most importantly, do you present yourself professionally in terms of attire and overall comportment—demonstrating that you’re someone worthy of investing time and energy?
The bottom line is that your fundamental motivation and orientation towards networking shows in every interaction with others, starting with your initial outreach to set up a time to connect and including every subsequent interaction regardless of whether it’s for business or other purposes.
In short, life presents a bounty of gifts in the form of the people we meet—if only we are open to meeting and connecting with them in meaningful ways and preparing/presenting ourselves accordingly.
Want to talk more in-depth about networking? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
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