Re-Position Your Thoughts on Networking

Even if you’re an extrovert, the term “networking” can make you anxious.  It may be hard for you to meet new people or reconnect with those you haven’t seen for a while.  If you’re unemployed, your confidence may be low; you may hate the idea of being in the position of asking for help instead of being able to offer it.

Donna Fisher, author of Power Networking, says that you can re-position your attitude toward networking.  She cautions against the “Lone Ranger” mentality: that you should do everything well, know everything you need to know, and never need anyone’s help.  Fisher suggests that you replace this independent theory with the idea that together, people can accomplish more than they can apart.  With that in mind, networking becomes a smarter way to approach business.

To get started with this new mindset, Fisher suggests you think of all the interdependence aspects of your accomplishments.  She writes, “No matter what it took you to achieve some accomplishment, other people were involved.” For instance, she goes on, “…let’s say that one of your accomplishments is having run a marathon. Certainly you were the one who had to train and run those 26 miles.  But how many others made the event possible?”

Thinking about how everyone contributes to everyone’s success will help you get over an aversion to asking for meetings or asking for help.  Don’t decide for other people that “they probably don’t have time to meet with me” or that “they wouldn’t want to…” Fisher encourages you to ask and let them decide for themselves.

She also gives these suggestions for making it easy to give you some time:

  • Allow them to make decisions about time
  • Respect their time by being efficient and effective with your requests
  • Call on people in a way that honors their time

Fisher says that when you ask for people’s help, you’re actually honoring their expertise and experience.  You also prove that you’re smart enough and open enough to new ideas to look for help.

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