What’s your idea of networking?
A room full of suited and booted business people who don’t know each other, walking around, person to person, shelling out their business cards? A networking breakfast, for the early birds, chatting over eggs and toast? Or is it a chat and a cold beer after work?
Does all of the above sound daunting? To most, it does.
When networking comes to mind, most of us won’t jump at the chance to speak to a room full of new people as it is out of our comfort zone and something we just don’t enjoy doing.
However, there is value in every connection we make. It can be as small as a ‘hello’ while making a cup of coffee. In a TED talk, Rick Turoczy highlights how a cup of coffee allows people to open up, helping us to connect.
He uses the phrase ‘collecting dots’ to demonstrate the connections we make. And it’s only as we connect the dots: reflecting on them, allowing them to gain context and make connections, that they then start to provide value for all the other dots.
Collecting dots leads to connecting dots.
Rick summarises with the fact that every person knows someone that someone else should know. As individuals, we are the only people who can make the connection because we are the only one who can see them.
So, never underestimate the power of hello (or coffee for that matter).
Small ways to make connections at work and networking events:
- Say ‘hello’ over coffee – Everyone does, it: grab a cup (or 4) of coffee throughout the day. Saying ‘hi’ to someone you haven’t spoken to before doesn’t have to be hard. Next time it could be ‘how are you?’ and who knows, after that you might be involved in the next project they’re working on.
- Listen – Sometimes if you find it hard to speak up first, hear what others have to say. Have some open-ended questions on hand and everyone else can do the talking.
- Smile – It can go a long way, it shows you are open and interested.
- Quality – You don’t need to know everyone and anyone. Start small, speak to one or two people and form a real connection.
Come and say hello at Avenue HQ, let’s grab a coffee (we’ve got one with your name on it…).