Networking is often thought of as super formal and sometimes soul-sucking, but the reality is, networking doesn't have to be a negative experience.
Aside from having a positive attitude, I also believe the best way to network is to be generous — with your time, energy, and resources.
Networking means meeting and learning about people and their experiences. If it's something you're always doing, no matter where you go and what you do — showing genuine interest in others and taking the time to connect with them, without feeling super pressured about it.
Pressure happens when you feel stuck in a situation or desperate because you need something. You need a new job, or an internship, or a recommendation…the list goes on.
If you're taking the time to network and stay in touch with people over time, you’ll cultivate true, authentic relationships. That way, when do you have those situations where you’re in need, not only will you feel less uncomfortable asking for help, but you'll have more people who will be willing to help you.
You, in turn, can be helpful no matter where you are in your career. If you’re not sure how to start, or need some inspiration on how to go about doing so, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some ideas below on what you can do to help your fellow peers, colleagues, friends — or the newest contact you’ve connected with recently:
1. Nominate them for awards
2. Offer feedback on their website or social media channels
3. Share their social media post
4. Write them a recommendation for their website or LinkedIn
5. Email a job listing that would be a good fit for them
6. Let them run their ideas or projects by you so you can share your perspective
7. Refer them personally for an internship or job opportunity
8. Invite them to lunch at your office
9. Tell them about an event they should attend, like Hustle Summit
10, Make them your +1 at a cool work event
11. When you read an article you think they will like, send it to them
12. Support the event their producing of involved in by going
13. Get coffee or drinks together
14. Donate to their crowd-funding campaign
15. Mention them in the comments on posts they'd find interesting, enjoy, or can contribute to
16. Brainstorm and find a solution to a challenge they are having
17. Ask them to speak at a panel or event at your school or job
18. Write a blog post that features their work or advice
19. Share your favorite inspirational Instagram account
20. Make them laugh on Snapchat when they are having a tough week at work
21. Introduce them to someone who mentors you
22. Help them spread the word about a job opening
23. Volunteer at one of their events or something they are involved in
24. Practice negotiating or pitching with them
25. Give them a shoutout on social media
So, what are your favorite ways to be generous? Share in the comments!