Networking is so critical when it comes to your success as either an entrepreneur or a corporate employee. The more that you put yourself out there and interact with others, the more that you will become aware of opportunities and further your business and yourself.
There are a few things that people still get wrong about networking, however, despite its many benefits. These misconceptions include the following:
1. That is has to be complicated or overly structured. The best networking doesn’t happen at stuffy meetings or events that involve the wearing of name tags while working a room. Good networking happens anywhere and everywhere. It can occur while waiting in line at a store, talking to colleagues in the break room, or engaging in a discussion on LinkedIn or Twitter. Seize oppportunities in everyday moments- they are everywhere if you look.
2. That it’s all about pitching. The best sort of networking doesn’t involve excessive self-promotion or pitching. It’s much more subtle. Great networking is simply talking about yourself, your product, or your company to build awareness while finding out about others at the same time.
3. That is has to be done in person. Some of my best networking has happened online. I’ve made excellent connections on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and many other e-locations. Take advantage of this extensive digital reach and the ability to grow an even greater network online.
4. That selling yourself (or your business) is a bad thing. Many of us grew up being told that talking about ourselves was the same as bragging, and that it was something that should never be done. That is just not the case in today’s world. You have to let others know about yourself so that you will be top of mind if they have a need for your business, or an opportunity for someone like you.
5. That it’s one-sided. Effective networking is never one way. The more that you help and look out for others, the more that they will do the same for you. The next time that you want to pitch to someone, think about what’s in it for them, and frame your message accordingly. Additionally, be sure to look out for opportunities for those that you know while you are out there looking for opportunities for yourself. In a network, we support each other.
This question originally appeared on Quora.
Photo Credit: Orbon Alija/Getty Images