Raise your hand if you hear the word networking, and you cringe.

I feel you. I used to want to crawl into a hole any time I heard the word networking.

I am an introvert, and in addition to being an introvert, until the last 10 years or so, I was extremely shy. The thought of networking, or even talking to somebody that I’ve never met, or trying to build some kind of relationship without somebody was terrifying.

I know there’s a lot of people that feel that way that are probably reading this too. So, instead of using the word networking, let’s shift our mindset a little. What if we use the word connecting, or the concept of building relationships instead?

Some of the ways in which you can effectively connect or build relationships include:

  • Attend industry events.
  • Talk with others taking similar courses, certifications, or workshops.
  • Connect with other people through social media platforms.
  • Secure a mentor.
  • Be helpful to others.
  • Maintain visibility.

Have you heard the concept of it’s who you know? There are still plenty of industries and organizations where this is true. If people know you, and they know the value that you can bring, they are more than likely to bring you up in a conversation, if there’s a role open, whether it’s an association as a board member, speaking opportunities, or a career role. It is so important to build and nurture relationships. You never know where that next opportunity could come from.

Building strong relationships and networking professionally are essential components for success in any career. The connections you make can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable insights and advice, and help you establish a strong reputation in your industry. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your career, investing time and effort into building meaningful relationships with colleagues, mentors, and industry leaders can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to reach out, attend events, and connect with others – you never know where it may lead!

Here's an example of building relationships - these are fellow AMAZING women entrepreneurs I've met through Crissy Conner's Visible Inner Circle!