Build your networking skills by passive networking
Networking can be really scary – and it’s not just juniors who feel this way! It’s not easy to put yourself out there in a room full of strangers and hope that someone wants to engage and chat with you too, which is why many people avoid it all together.
Networking is a skill that you can build passively, rather than throwing yourself head first into a 100 person networking event and being so anxious that you don’t talk to anyone at all. Once you’ve built up your skills and confidence, then you can successfully tackle that conference or that networking breakfast.
So…how do you network passively? We’re glad you asked!
Utilise your social media platforms
If you’re not super active on LinkedIn, now is your time. Make sure you update your profile, then start connecting with people who work in your industry (or in the space you want to work in) and engage with the content they’re sharing. This is more than liking what they post. Comment on it and start a conversation – you want to be noticed so you can build that connection!
While it’s great to have more senior people as connections, it’s important to connect with people at all levels of experience. Someone at the same level can give you great insights and tips about their experience or a junior’s content might alert you to the latest trend and you can be ahead of the game.
Seek out those with more experience
Once you’ve built out your network on LinkedIn and have engaged with a couple of senior people on there, send them a message and ask if you can take them out for a coffee and a quick chat. Maybe you want to know more about career opportunities in the area they’re in or what you should be upskilling in next. The worst thing that’ll happen? They’ll say no. But if they say yes, they could be super helpful as you look to grow and progress your career.
Do some training
Whether the training session is online or in-person, making sure that you’re up to date with the skills and tech you need to succeed in your role and industry is incredibly important. You won’t just come away with some top notch skills, but with some new connections – whether that’s the instructor or some of the attendees – that you can add on LinkedIn and start engaging with.
Take advantage of opportunities
This one might be aimed a bit more at juniors, but the core message remains the same – if you’re presented with an opportunity to help build your networking skills passively, say yes!
In particular, if you get the opportunity to do an internship or join a volunteer or mentor program, then do it. You’ll get to build relationships with industry insiders and in the case of a mentor program, it’s building a relationship with just one other person, rather than a whole group – which is considerably easier if you ask us! We also have a mentorship program that we run once a year – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Attend virtual events before in-person events
In-person events are booming once again, but there are still virtual events for those who can’t or prefer not to attend in-person networking events. Virtual events are just that little bit easier when it comes to making connections – you’re not face to face, if there’s a lull, it’s wayyyyyy less awkward and if it’s really not a good one, a quick getaway is easy. Just hit the leave meeting button.
Eventually you’ll hopefully feel ready for an in-person event. To make it a bit easier on yourself, try to go with at least one other person you know – whether it be from your work or your LinkedIn network to give yourself a safety net. When you’re there, give yourself a small, achievable goal, like talking with three people that you don’t know. That way you don’t feel pressured to talk to everyone, but still feel like you’ve succeeded by attending the event.
Networking always feels hard in the beginning, even if you do it more passively, but it’ll become more natural once you do them a couple of times and get into the flow of things. Your confidence will build and when you eventually make it to in-person networking events, you’ll be a lot more comfortable.
Ready for a new job in the creative / marketing / PR / tech space? Get in touch today at email@example.com.