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Elements of Mindset

How to Hack Networking

13 min
Average Score

David Burkus

Keynote Speaker | Bestselling Author | Organizational Psychologist

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In today's interconnected world, networking plays a pivotal role in personal and professional success. Yet, for many individuals, the idea of networking can evoke feelings of discomfort and awkwardness. The good news is that networking doesn't have to be a daunting task. In this informative session, you will learn valuable insights on how to enhance your networking abilities, build a robust network, and enjoy the process without feeling like a pushy salesperson.

The Power of Networking

Networking is not just a buzzword; it's a game-changer in the realm of career and personal development. Studies have shown that individuals who possess a strong network, both within and beyond their industry, tend to achieve more significant career milestones. Companies with socially connected employees also outperform their competitors.

However, the traditional notion of networking, involving forced interactions and exchanging business cards, often leads to discomfort and anxiety. To bridge this gap, let's redefine networking as something more natural and relatable.

Redefining Networking

Networking is not merely about meeting strangers; it's about understanding the network that already surrounds you and leveraging it effectively. Think of it as knowing who's a friend and who's a friend of a friend. With this fresh perspective, you can adopt networking strategies that feel more genuine and less contrived.

Three Practical Networking Strategies

1. Reconnect with Old Friends

Contrary to popular belief, some of the most significant networking opportunities come from reconnecting with old friends, or what sociologists refer to as "weak ties" or "dormant ties." These are individuals you used to be close to but haven't interacted with as frequently in recent times.

Consider the story of Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, who reconnected at a high school friend's wedding after a long hiatus. This reunion ultimately led to their partnership in acquiring the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), resulting in a multi-billion-dollar success story.

Action Step: Make a list of friends you haven't talked to in a while and reach out to them. Rekindling old connections can yield unexpected opportunities.

2. Utilize Friends of Friends

Expanding your network often involves meeting new people outside your immediate circle. The best approach is to leverage your existing connections. Most of us are connected to the broader world by just a few degrees of separation. When seeking new connections, ask your current friends if they know anyone in your target industry or field, and request an introduction.

The concept of "six degrees of separation" holds true in many studies, illustrating how interconnected our world truly is. Your next significant opportunity may be just one introduction away.

Action Step: Start by asking your friends for introductions to individuals in your desired industry or sector. You'll be amazed at the depth of your network.

3. Find Common Interests Beyond Work

When meeting new people, try to establish connections based on shared hobbies, passions, or interests outside of the workplace. Research suggests that the more diverse your connections are, the stronger and faster your relationships will develop.

Consider hosting gatherings where individuals are encouraged to connect through non-work-related activities, as exemplified by John Levy's unique dinner parties. By creating opportunities for genuine connections, you can foster deeper relationships more quickly.

Action Step: Seek out common interests when meeting new contacts. Finding non-work reasons to connect can lead to more profound and lasting relationships.

The Impact of Your Network

Your network not only affects your career but also your overall happiness and well-being. Studies show that the people you surround yourself with influence your weight, smoking habits, and happiness levels more than you realize. Your network can even have a more substantial impact on your happiness than a substantial increase in salary.

Watch the Session to Learn More

Networking is not a daunting task when approached with the right mindset and strategies. To delve deeper into the art of networking and gain further insights, watch the video session on this topic. Discover how you can expand your network, nurture valuable relationships, and ultimately shape a brighter future for yourself.

In conclusion, redefining networking as understanding your existing network and acting accordingly can transform the way you approach professional and personal connections. By reconnecting with old friends, leveraging friends of friends, and seeking common interests, you can build a powerful network that positively influences your career and happiness.

Remember, your network is a reflection of your future. Embrace the opportunity to enhance your networking skills and enjoy the journey towards a more prosperous and fulfilling life.

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