"I never apologize for the word 'networking' or for the 'act of networking'. When done properly it brings much value to everyone involved" -- Marny Lifshen, co-author, "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women"
Do you ever find yourself being shy about networking? Are you a little embarrassed to tell others that you are going to a networking event or that you belong to networking organizations?
Many people have misconceptions about networking involving cheesy happy hours in hotel ballrooms with free beer and crappy fried snacks. While some networking events meet that description on various levels, the power of creating business relationships has nothing to do with drink tickets, food and handing out your business cards.
Networking is about cultivating connections with other people that allow you both to prosper. What is embarrassing about discovering the soul of another human being and looking for ways to make their life better? What makes someone shy about mutually assisting each other in the quest for success?
I think those who are really "embarrassed" have been mis-lead to believe that networking is a selfish act. They have been taught to go out and find people who can become a one-way resource without them needing to provide value in return. It is those who are "takers"... or fear that they are "takers" who have real issues with the concept of networking.
Thus I encourage you to go out and network.... but be a giver! Look for ways to connect those in your network with others whom can help them achieve. The funny thing is the more you give, the more you will get. People LOVE to help those who help others.
But do not keep score of your might become disappointed. You will often give more than you get... but so what? The act of giving (and helping someone) is in itself a victory. Do not help someone expecting them to help you. Maybe they will... maybe they wont. It is not about the one particular person returning a favor, it IS about the universe rewarding you in the long run.
Stop all the games about networking, or hiding your efforts... just go out and make things happen. It is not a sin in any religion to meet people and become a positive light in their lives. So why, why, why be shy?
Have A Great Day.