Are you a fraternity/sorority professional trying to figure out how to somehow do networking in our strange world today? You’re not alone. Many professionals know that networking is vital to their career success and to their personal fulfillment, but how are you supposed to pull it off in today’s world?
We’d like to offer some guidance. A few videos and a handful of tips. We hope you’ll find this valuable.
Every Moment Is A Choice
Our life… including our professional life… is made up largely of a series of momentary interactions. These little moments when we either connect with people… or not… are how we build our professional reputation… they’re how we learn and grow… they’re how we gain influence and authority… and these little momentary interactions with others are how we build our professional network.
There are a LOT of things we don’t have control of… there are a lot of things we don’t have power over in our professional lives. Our bosses make decisions that impact us, we deal with furloughs and layoffs, we deal with invisible barriers and systemic biases… there is a lot outside of our influence. But the way we choose to engage with other professionals… that’s something we can influence.
Professional networking is such a buzzword. A lot of people think it is measured in LinkedIn connections or how many business cards you collect. But a network is a living, breathing thing. It is an always evolving organism built out of real relationships with real humans who have real fears and real joys and real dreams and real lives. We too often make networking a TASK for our brain… when really it should be a CALLING from our hearts.
If you want to increase your professional network, remember that every moment is a choice. And the way you fill those moments… the choices you make in those momentary interactions… that’s what determines the strength and value of your network.
Watch this video to remind yourself of three choices you can make regularly to become a great networker.
Introverts are Networkers Too
[Note: We have a whole resource written about introverts networking at conferences. It was written pre-COVID, but it's DEFINITELY worth checking out.]
Never let labels like “introvert” and “extrovert” keep us from achieving our professional and personal goals. These labels help us understand our tendencies and the situations that help us gain energy… but they don’t need to stand in the way of us being incredible professional networkers.
The next time you (who might identify as an introvert) find yourself in a “networking situation” (whether it’s in person or online) remember these tips…
Create The Culture You Crave
As a professional, you are often at the mercy of your environment.
Too many professionals find themselves in toxic workplaces… or they feel defeated by an industry that repeatedly knocks the wind out of their sails… or they feel disenchanted by poisonous industry social media chatter…
The culture in which we work impacts us very much.
A lot of folks think of “professional networking” as a very mechanical, boring, and necessary part of being an adult that is mostly about connecting with people so that you can get a better job when you’re finally sick of this one. We think that’s misguided. Professional networking, when done right, is not that shallow.
Professionals who network intentionally choose to surround themselves with colleagues and connections that contribute to the culture they crave. Professionals who network intentionally choose to build meaningful relationships and personal friendships with other pros who have a similar life purpose and who choose to treat other people in ways that lead to happiness, fulfillment, and the uplift of those around them.
Create the culture you crave. You spend one third of your adult life working… create the professional culture you crave. Intentionally network with others who will contribute to the culture you want to exist within. You are not at the mercy of your environment… you can engineer a professional relationship environment that reflects your values and contributes to the life you want for yourself.
Now you might be wondering about how to maximize your opportunities to network in this virtual space. That’s a reasonable concern. Of course, social media is an important tool. LinkedIn can be a big part of your overall strategy. But remember, professional networking is about humans connecting with other humans.
Check out these three resources to dive deeply into virtual relationship building.
- I Still Believe in Handshakes
- The 10 “Be’s” of Virtual Relationship Building
- Building Relationships Is Hard Right Now
- Be More Human
Good luck! And if you’d like to network with us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.