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True or False?
My perception of networking used to be attending group functions to pass out and collect as many business cards as possible. I carried this assumption with me until just a month ago. Just recently, I learned the following lessons...
1) I Have to be Extroverted. False. Those who are extroverted probably do thrive at large group functions because they are energized by meeting new people and sharing stories. For those who are more introverted, think of ways to connect on a smaller scale. Try scheduling meetings one-on-one. Build the depth of your connections over time.
2) A Bigger Network is Better. False. You may have a large number of acquaintances, but very few "friends." True, a bigger pool of connections helps, BUT still doesn't guarantee anything. Think Quality over Quantity. I'd rather have 5 connections that I can depend on, than 100 whom I barely know.
3) The More Events I attend, the Faster Results will happen. False. Networking takes time. Success doesn't happen overnight. Just because you are "busy" with many groups, doesn't mean you are being "productive." Managing your time is an essential skill in today's world. Joining a group isn't a bad thing, just make sure it serves a long-term goal. Get focused and prioritize your time. Knowing what NOT to spend your time on is just as important as what to spend your time on.
No one formula works for everyone. You have to know your personality, strengths and weaknesses, then go with what strategy "fits" you best. Networking is about building, not just making connections. Don't "sell" to people, try to help them. Be genuine and have normal conversations. You'll be amazed at what opportunities will pop up when you're just being yourself...