Are you approaching networking from the wrong angle?

Do you find networking a chore? And that it doesn't pay dividends or people just don't get back to you?

According to Vivek Bhatia, CEO iCare, you have to “stop seeing at something that's just for career progression”. Most of us have made this simple mistake along the way. Thinking that we'll reach out to someone and perhaps they could help us get a new role or open the door to opportunity. This is completely the WRONG mindset and you'll probably find them wary, cold or that they don't follow up with something they said they'd do for you. Think about it for a second, have you ever had someone contact you and you just got the feeling all they were after was something that benefited them? You're BS detector is going off like a fire alarm.

Remember these two things:

Firstly, networking is about LEARNING. The good news is that people generally love sharing their wisdom and knowledge on a topic. So, when you meet someone for the first time ask loads of questions about their work, the challenges and strategies. This keeps you pure of heart and gives you a deeper understanding into their challenges so when they ask you about what you do you can relate it back to their challenges. It also builds a strong trust base.

Secondly, networking is about GIVING. I have a simple mantra I follow in every conversation with a connection. “What is at least one thing I can do for this person to help them achieve their goals and dreams?” I'll connect them to someone, give them some templates or send a link. Anything to invest in their future. I NEVER ask for anything in return. If they do offer to help, I'll generally have something small they could do for me back.

This is about learning and giving from all sorts of rock star people and different industries. When you take this mindset it makes networking enjoyable and incredibly valuable. So when you meet someone plant strong seeds of trust by starting with them and make their work and life the most important topic. The harvest will come much later.

Learn, give and stay epic,

GL