The concept of networking has been so underrated, that when I found out about it I was like a child let loose in a candy store. It delighted me so much to find that there were investments I could make that didn’t necessarily involve money and would yield indefinite multiple returns. I couldn’t get enough of it. As a female millennial myself, I have seen the results of networking more times than I can count, including the launch of this blog.
Networking always sounds like some big thing professionals do in power suits and heels. You think networking, and you quickly shut yourself down because ‘it’s not for ordinary people like me’.
Hello, lies, lies, more lies sis.
Building a network is for everybody. There is no restricted age, occupation or bank account. What people bring to the table varies, but as long as you are willing to offer value in your own way, rest assured that networking will sprinkle it’s magic on you. For the female millennial, networking has been made easier by online forums and social media. You know that chic that supports you like a sister even though you only met on Instagram and you’ve never seen each other in person? Exactly.
What exactly is networking?
Let’s break it down so you see it’s not some huge, scary idea that you cannot do. Networking is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Simply put, networking is relationships.
Why do I need to network?
Who you know goes a long way in your growth and if you have not started deliberately building your network, then this is the exact post you need. Let me ask you a quick question, If you launch a product right now, do you have people that will talk about it? I don’t mean the influencers you can pay, I mean the ones who will share your links without being paid. Did you come up with any names? Okay so why will those people do that for you? Are they family? Friends? Or are they people whose links you have shared in the past? If the later is why, then it is my pleasure to inform you that you have dipped your toes into the networking pool.
How do I Network?
Great question. That’s why I wrote this piece anyway! Networking is not at all hard to do, but it is a deliberate thing to do. The glow is intentional, remember?
Recognising that you need to build a network is a great first step. Being deliberate about it is a great next step. When you have it in mind that you need to do at least one thing to build your network, your mind will point out opportunities to do so. Next time you see a potential connection advertise something or share something, you will know to repost, or contribute. That, sis, is networking.
Networking is not an opportunity to take, take and take from others. It is more give than take to be honest. When you offer value to a person, you register your name in their minds. When you need something they can give, chances are more likely that they will be willing to give it. That’s just how networking works.
Quality over Quantity.
Reading this piece, you probably cannot wait to get your networking hat on. Hold on just a second. Networking is essentially building relationships. One qualitative relationship is better than ten superficial ones. So focus on building relationships based on quality rather than quantity because a quality contact comes with their people. See? Magic.
If you approach networking like a transaction, you’re not going to be able to get the full experience. Creating genuine relationships is the key to networking. You can do that by showing up for the people in your circle, talking about what they do, referring them to others, attending their events. One great way to connect in these times is attending their live videos and participating. Comment on their posts. Mention them or their products when you can. Check on them if you haven’t seen them in a while. These things take time, but they’re absolutely worth it.
Ask for what you need .
In building a network, you have to pump in value. Nothing else will cut it. But it is not the same day you sow a seed that you reap it. So like I said earlier, give it time. When that time comes, all that work can be in vain if you don’t leverage on that network. Remove all sense of entitlement from your mind and ask for that thing you need politely, not like you’ve come to collect on a debt. A lot of times, you want to be given what you need without asking and sometimes that does happen, but do you really want to let opportunities pass you by because you couldn’t be bothered to ask for what you want?
I didn’t think so.
Networking as a female millennial has been made even easier now that everyone is online. Use it. Build a network of people even if you haven’t found your niche yet. Support is a currency that cannot be bought with money. If you’re currently trying to figure out career paths, here’s something you can do that will be essential to whatever you eventually decide to do.
Find a few ladies who are where you want to get, follow them on social Media. Engage on their posts, like their pictures, share their stuff and make sure to mention them. Even if they don’t reply, they will notice you over time.
You can do this.
Any questing? Drop a comment let’s chat!