Networking is hard

When you hear about the importance of networking, the immediate reaction is to look around for someone more important than you are and see how you can meet them right away. For those of us who are not born salespeople, though, that’s where it often starts to fall apart. “What do I do next? Do I ask them for a job? Do I just try to impress them enough that they’ll like me?” Or maybe you’ve memorized a list of icebreaker questions, if you’re extremely on top of things. And how do you even do any of that over Zoom?

Traditional networking feels hard because it is hard, and it has a very low success rate. It feels bad to ask for a one sided relationship, and you probably don’t feel like you have anything to offer someone in a position of greater power or experience. This is a recipe for feeling weird. I hereby give you permission to do something all of us introverts probably want to do already: Talk to the people you already know. Please don’t form a little circle and exclude people, but don’t feel like you are doing your career a disservice by nurturing a core set of connections.