Mehar Sindhu Batra, a celebrated career coach and guide, shares her insights on various career-related topics only on Edugraph.
Networking can feel intimidating in the beginning.
So much so that it feels like a chore. Something which is overwhelming isn’t a lot of fun to do and maybe that is why we grab every chance to avoid it subconsciously.
But then again why is “meeting people” so important in today’s world?
By definition, networking is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. It’s building those relationships with people so that they can help you and you can help them in the future.
There’s a famous quote “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.'” Because each person you meet has information about something that you have no idea about. As someone who is starting their career or is switching it, you must think about every interaction to be a potential chance for you to network with people. Why?
Each person you meet comes with a unique possibility for you: Relaying full-time job openings, industry events or things happening in different fields and industries, finding mentors and even future business opportunities.
85% of jobs are found through networking and this is WHY it is so pivotal!
And who exactly to network with?
Now, you don’t need to look very far for your networking circle. Things begin right where you are, you just need to take a look around.
Crisp & simple, right?
Here are some of the opportunities you have to build your circle:
- University/College Professionals
- Student Organisations
- Professional Associations or Organisations
- Volunteering contacts
- Current or Previous Employees of an Organisation
Representative Image Source: Shutterstock
Here are my favourite tips to Network better:
My personal take on networking is to look at it as building emotional connections with people you might work with - indirectly or directly!
That has somehow eased my anxiety and has helped me approach strangers at events and have a chat with them.
I keep emphasising this to the students I mentor as well. To build strong working relationships you have to focus on connecting with people on a personal or an emotional level. Not just think of them as a potential bag of future opportunities, but as a human you can connect with.
And why should you invest your emotions? Well, look at it like you are building connections for your future career prospects.
My guidelines for a smooth networking experience:
1. Don’t be afraid to make the first move:
People are probably as nervous or feeling as awkward as you are. It’s no big deal!
Be positive. Smile and be confident. Put on that happy face, display your good manners and chat the evening away!
2. Always introduce yourself & prepare your 30-second elevator pitch:
Introduce yourself slowly and make the effort to hold eye contact for a short while with a subtle smile, to show your genuine interest in meeting them.
A short pitch about who you are, what you graduated in alongside what you’re currently doing or intend to do professionally, does the trick!
3. Listen and ask questions:
Listening is better than talking!
We listen to respond instead of just listening to the other person. We are so busy introducing ourselves, pitching or sharing our thoughts while being very focused on how we would like the outcome of the situation to be that we don’t even care what the other person is talking about.
Let’s not do that and be an attentive listener instead.
Mehar Sindhu Batra, Founder and CEO of MSB Vision Source: Edugraph
4. Subtle flattery will get you places:
People like to be appreciated for all that they do and they do well. We want to be noticed and when someone appreciates our achievements or our skills, that makes us feel like we have been noticed, which does feel good.
Using flattery in the right amount, language and of course, properly, can help you make connections in a very effortless way. So be that person!
5. Connect with people on a human level:
Be genuine! We have to hone our techniques to connect with a more personal touch. Remember people’s names, hobbies or any personal details they shared with you during your conversation. Let’s do our bit to make it as personal as possible.
Find common grounds and talk more about those topics. Build that bond!
6. Show your knowledge:
You can share what you love about the field of your choice and it doesn’t have to be fully professional. You can share your work, your co-curricular activities.
And when the other person asks a question, answer well and make it interactive!
7. Don’t talk to someone only with an agenda!
As I mentioned before, it is not worthwhile to build a connection just for the professional gains. Besides, people get to know when you’re speaking to them solely for selfish reasons.
So first invest in getting to know the person on a deeper level before jumping in and asking them for a favour. Show proper etiquette.
8. Connect on social media afterwards:
If you meet new people virtually or even in-person, make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn, so that you can stay in touch with them.
Send them a follow-up message as soon as you can so that they don’t forget you! Stay active on social media and keep posting innovative stuff.
Also Read | How to plan your career in school
Representative Image Source: Shutterstock
Remember, it’s not just signing up for these “networking events”, virtual or real-life, but going out there and ACTUALLY talking to people that is going to make all the difference.
At the end of the day, I want you to see networking as a way of connecting with more people, professionally. The possibilities are truly endless!
It’s a social activity and takes time to build this skill. But trust me it gets better with practice.
(About the author: Mehar Sindhu Batra, is the founder and CEO of MSB Vision – an organisation with the vision to “empower young professionals to recognise & reach their true potential and accelerate their careers.” She created a community through her Instagram page - MSBVision where one can find regular informative, well-researched, inspirational and empowering content which can help young minds become better students, learners, professionals, entrepreneurs and above all, strong individuals.
Born and raised in New Delhi, she is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA from Imperial College, who now lives in London. She has 8+ years of work experience at top tier companies such as KPMG & E&Y as well as startups in India and the UK.
She has mentored 10,000+ people through 1:1 coaching sessions and university workshops on various topics such as building a career strategy, excelling at work, creating a professional brand and communicating effectively. )
We will be running this as a series, to be published on Wednesdays. Do watch this space for more. You can check out Mehar’s other content on her Instagram handle - msbvision.