How do I start networking?

"Do you have any tips on how to effectively start networking with people and get your name out to create industry relationships? I can be quite shy and it isn't easy for me to reach out to people, but I know that i will need to for my career path." - Hannah Brainard

Nora: Such a great question - if I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve been told networking is key I wouldn’t need to network ever again :) After deciding to launch LFC, a lot of what I needed to do was network. I needed to find women to make up my team, I needed to find women to feature, I needed to find women to help spread the word. No matter how outgoing someone may be, when something they really care about is on the line, there’s always a possibility for your nerves to get the best of you. That’s how I felt with this. I was so nervous to share my idea with people because what if they didn’t like it? What if they thought LFC was a waste of time? What if they thought what I was doing was something they could do on their own? I had a lot of fears, but I think those fears inadvertently helped me grow my network. I was so passionate about this idea, I wanted to talk about it to any and everyone that would listen. I think to calm your nerves, you should stay organized and prepare. Know what you want to say and why you want to say it. Have conversations with friends first to prepare you for how people may respond. Work through your ideas, share what you can, ask questions on what you don’t know. Staying engaged and personable with people is a great way to feel more comfortable around them over time.

In terms of getting your name out there - put it everywhere you can! Have your friends introduce you to people. Once you meet those people, have them introduce you to others! And make sure you’re doing the same for them. Reach out with personal messages on LinkedIn. Engage with people on social media. We’re really lucky to be living in a time where we have a lot of places to engage with others. Make sure you take advantage of that!

Marissa: I think networking is so important and it's so different for everyone in their approach. I've found that reaching out to people who I've found are likeminded and have similar interests has gotten me so far. I think you're always going to connect with those people much easier than hoping to find someone in the exact job you want and thinking you can immediately connect and get to where you want to be. While obviously trying to do that is awesome, it's also good to connect with people who want to do something similar or who do in a smaller way because you never know who they will be able to introduce and connect you with. I think that's the best part is all the sudden after reaching out to a few people if you stay in contact etc you find yourself meeting all kinds of new people and eventually making the connections you want and need to continue to grow in your career!

We want to hear from you! Comment your thoughts below, or submit your own story here!