How to network when you hate networking

Published on October 19, 2023

There is one crucial thing you need to do whatever goal you are pursuing: talk to people. You are so much more likely to start and grow a business, change jobs, move forward, if you meet people and build relationships.

Yes, the dreaded networking. It seems like everybody tells you how important it is to network and also tells you how much they hate it. The paradox is striking.

You may have dabbled in networking as you started your job search, as you started your business, at the beginning of a new role or because your position required you to. Most likely you decided yet again that you hated it and that networking events are dire.

And you know what? Most of them are. Very few people enjoy facing a sea of strangers and jumping into it head first, while sipping so shit wine and nibbling on bread sticks.

And even if you do make an effort and you work the room, you likely find yourself at the end of the event drained, with a bunch of business cards you’ll never look at again, and consider yourself lucky that one familiar face was there and you could spend the evening catching up with them instead of meeting new people.

But meeting new people and building relationships truly is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself and others. For your career, your business, and for fulfilling that desire you have to make a difference to someone. 

If you don’t like conventional networking events, consider something creative and fun instead. Go to events focused on your interests and hobbies.

Wine aficionado? Go to wine tasting events.

Avid reader? Go to book launches and book clubs.

Walking and hiking? There are numerous local groups and clubs that organise walks daily and weekly.

The best event I’ve come across so far is a boozy pottery class. Can you imagine?? I’ll be going, of course.

If the idea of networking makes your heart sink, then just go and meet people who share your interests. Building relationships is not just for when you need a job or clients and the most enjoyable way of doing it is always by looking at what is fun for you and following that trail.

(Photo: Yoav Hornung/Unsplash)

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