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How to Transform from Nervous Networker to Confident Connector in 12 months (or less)

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Jan. 11, 2015

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson Twitter icon

If you want to transform your career, you have to network.


I know. You don't need to be reminded of how important networking is. I also know you're avoiding it because it's hard, and awkward, and you can't always see how it pays off.

I felt the same way.

I knew I needed to do something , so I decided to try something simpler. I made one resolution:

Be more connected.

And it transformed more than my year.

It transformed my career.

Connecting made every day a better day, and a day of more opportunities than the one before.

My goal was to connect with 5 people a day - just drop them a line to say hello and give them an update. But I got more than I expected.

The more I connected, the more confident I became.

Soon I found myself connecting with people far outside my original contact list, and becoming more and more comfortable about advocating for myself and making requests.

Everyday, networking became easier as I built a wave of positive momentum.

I went from an awkward, nervous networker to a confident connector, and created more personal and professional opportunities than I imagined possible.

Does the idea of networking make you nervous, but you KNOW you need to try something new?

Here are 12 activities to build your networking momentum

Stretch yourself

  1. Reconnect with 1 person per week - someone you haven't spoken to in a while.
  2. Monthly ask someone to introduce you to a new person.
  3. Monthly reach out to 1 person that you don't know well and ask them for advice.
  4. Ask someone to recommend a mentor.
  5. Quarterly ask someone to recommend a book, TEDTalk or networking event.
  6. Go up to a person you don't know at a networking event and smile and say, "Hello, how are you enjoying the event?"

Build your reputation as connector and developer

  1. Share your networking success tips with one other person.
  2. Recommend a mentor for one of your colleagues.
  3. Quarterly introduce one of your colleagues to someone they don't know.

Build your reputation as thought leader:

  1. Get active on LinkedIn. Weekly either post an article that you like, or comment/like someone else's. Get really brave and post original content.
  2. Recommend a book or TEDTALK to your boss or to someone on the management team.
  3. Offer to give a short training session on something you're passionate about.

Once you're successful with an activity, the easier it becomes to do it again. Try one a month and see which one works. Pick ones that seem easiest for you and build your confidence.

Then ride the wave.

Give yourself a gift of opportunity.

The more you connect, the more connected you'll become, and the more opportunites you will create for yourself.

Make every day a more connected day and transform your career and beyond.

Looking for some specific tips on networking? Check out these posts:

Networking How I Beat my Networking Nerves

Finding Mentors The Introvert's Guide to Getting Great Mentors

Hack Your Humility Trap How to Hack Your Humility Trap

Hack Your Humility Trap How to Beat the "No Time to Network" Blues

Check out the The Career Toolbox page for more practical tips and tools.

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