If you are anything like me, networking may sound exhausting and dreadful. Over time, I have had doubts take over the way I network (if at all), but to some extent, many of them have faded away with a shift in perspectives.
Here are some worries that crossed my mind that could strike you as familiar, along with my current approaches!
Is it not selfish to form a relationship only for how it can benefit me?
All relationships (professional or otherwise) have their benefits. But you aren't only taking something from them; you're adding some value too!
Sometimes, it can be hard to fathom what you're giving to any particular relationship-especially when the person on the receiving end seems to have accomplished much more. But, you are much more than your CV or LinkedIn profile-and essentially, there is no one from whom any of us can't learn anything at all.
What if they don't reply?
You type your message out, almost hit 'send', but pause. You think of possible scenarios, generally focusing more on what could go wrong.
But an ignored text does not necessarily have something to do with you (spoiler alert: it happens with everyone)! Sure, there are strategies to approach someone that may increase your chances of hearing back, but none that would guarantee a reply.
So, instead of backing out because of such fears, perhaps, try asking yourself: what if they do?
Um, but what should I even talk about?
There's no one template to this. As cliche as it sounds, the key to making networking less awkward is being genuine. Don't ask a question for the sake of it when you can just Google it in a second. But if you are really curious about something (maybe concerning one recent post or an interesting project), reaching out may leave space for natural conversations. Find common interests, obstacles and experiences, or simply introduce yourself; you never know what might come out of it.
Networking, well, is hard, but it wouldn't get any easier if you won't even start. Acknowledge the aspects that seem intimidating, and maybe, seeing those in a different light can change how you see networking as a whole!