Few professional activities are as nerve-wracking as networking. There’s the paralyzing prospect of entering a room full of strangers. The awkward introductions and stilted small talk. The concern that “networking” means you have to exploit others for personal gain – or might appear that way. It’s no wonder so many talented professionals eschew networking altogether. Unfortunately, that means they’re limiting their chances of making the kind of great personal and professional connections that can expand their worldview, enrich their lives, and – yes – even lead to new business opportunities.
That’s why it’s time to reclaim networking. It doesn’t have to be the province of users and takers; instead, as Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark makes clear in this short and actionable guide, networking done right is nothing like the stereotype. It’s not about making shallow, insincere connections and filling your wallet with business cards. Instead, the real goal is to turn brief encounters into mutually-beneficial and lasting friendships—in both your personal and professional life.