|Take the scary out of networking|
Many people make the mistake of thinking that there are “natural networkers,” or those people to whom it comes easily, said Ashley Ringger, managing director of Switzerland-based Set Sails Social Media, in an email. “However, good networking is more a skill to be learned than to be born with,” she said. “Once you get started, it becomes easier as you develop your own approach and grow your circle. Not only will you increase your contact base, but soon you will become a resource to connect others.”
Give yourself a goal, suggested Ringger. For example, at every professional event you attend, don’t allow yourself to leave until you’ve met at least three people and have exchanged business cards with them. And don’t stop there.
“Plenty of networking takes place online through social media,” said Ringger. After you get home, find the new contacts you have made on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Xing and connect with them there. “When possible, include a personal message about where and when you met, thank them for the information they shared, and express your interest in remaining connected with them. If they have their own business, ‘like’ or follow it on appropriate social media platforms. “Showing your support of their endeavours gives them a reason to support yours,” she said.