Networking is the greatest tool you’ll ever use. But it’s not that easy for some of us to step out of our box and get comfortable with it. I am the queen of shy, and it takes a lot for me to open up to people especially in a small group setting. I can speak in front of hundreds or thousands of people, sure no problem! But put me with four or five other people, and I freak out. I didn’t even speak to people when I was a kid, I just whispered to my sister and had her relay all my genius insights (yes, I had genius insights at 6 years old).
When I got to high school, I joined some clubs and started to learn about the power of networking. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and started talking to people I didn’t know. In college, I’ve tried to get involved as much as possible. Joining Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have come into contact with more people from various locations, professions, etc. than I ever thought possible. I now have connections worldwide, what a great feeling that is.
Networking has never been so easy, especially with the expanded use of social media and the availability of more clubs and organizations for every interest (at one point there was even an organization for putting apples with golf clubs at my school, I shit you not).
To be successful in business, or whatever you’re doing, you have to suck it up and put yourself out there. Take it from the shy girl; it is much easier to expand your network by joining groups and organizations that appeal to you rather than trying to meet contacts just walking down the street (they’ll run from you, trust me). Joining these groups makes the introduction period much less awkward and a whole lot easier. Once you have connections, the more connections you get. Who knows, you might catch that big break you’ve been waiting for.
“Don’t be afraid to expand yourself, to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where the joy and the adventure lie.” -Herbie Hancock
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