Advertising
Advertising

7 Habits You Should Ditch for Better Networking

7 Habits You Should Ditch for Better Networking

Networking is one of the key components to getting a job, keeping your job, and moving along your career path. It’s a vital part of your career development, no matter what stage of your career you’ve reached. Bad habits can derail your networks and take you off track. Here are 7 habits you should ditch for better networking.

1. The temptation to network only with people like you.

The goal of networking is to meet new people who may open new opportunities. Always look for ways to network with people who think differently, who have different jobs, or have different skill sets. And don’t feel like it’s beneath you to network with those younger or inexperienced. You may find your next intern, or even the next Mark Zuckerberg. Try going into events with an open mind and find something interesting from each conversation. You’ll find that you’ll have a much more robust network when you go outside your comfort zone and meet people who you may not interact with on a daily basis.

Advertising

2. The excuses.

I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I don’t know what to say. It’s too late. These are all excuses that can derail your networking strategy. Rather than making excuses, find strategies to overcome them. When you prioritize growing your professional network, you’ll find the time and energy to do it right. Make a plan, find the times and groups, and plan ahead with topics of interest. You’ll meet more people and be much more successful with your networking efforts when you leave the excuses out of your strategy.

3. The bad attitude.

Networking can be hard. It’s easy to have a negative attitude about the process if you go in with the wrong intentions. Check your attitude at the door and find the good in each encounter you make. By staying positive and keeping your ego in check, you’ll find many more opportunities that are valuable than you might think.

Advertising

4. Your shyness.

Some people are more shy than others, and networking can be very difficult if you get nervous around people. With that in mind, networking events are oftentimes most useful for more introverted people. It’s an opportunity where it’s socially acceptable (and even encouraged) to walk up to strangers and talk to them. Jump out of your comfort zone and start a conversation. Practice makes perfect.

5. The urge to ask for more than you receive.

Too often people expect something from those they network with. Whether it’s help, knowledge, funding, recommendations, or advice, those that get the most out of their networking connections are the ones who give the most. Help others first, and you could receive much more in return. Find things you are good at and offer them to the community. You will find that when you have needs, people will jump through hoops to help you when you’ve opened doors for them.

Advertising

6. The internet-only approach.

LinkedIn is a great tool, but it can become a crutch. Attend events, take part in conferences, and spend time on your craft outside of work. You’ll find that a connection forged with a handshake is going to hold up much more than one based solely online. Use tools like LinkedIn to keep up with your network, but never forget that the best way will always be in person.

7. The bad communication.

Answer your emails. Follow-up on voicemails. And don’t skip the small talk. In a world of technology where the personal touch is easily lost, being diligent about how you communicate is vital. There are few things more impressive when networking than being accessible and responsive. You will make a name for yourself as someone who is dependable, and you’ll get the most out of your networking opportunities.

Advertising

Building a great network can take time and hard work, but the benefits are staggering. Don’t let bad habits keep you from reaching your potential and souring your hard work. Ditch the bad habits and be a networking superstar.

Featured photo credit: Kai Nicolas Schaper via flickr.com

More by this author

Kyle Robbins

Founder, BrandingBeard.com

Why Helping Others Actually Helps Yourself 10 Things You Must Do When You’re Single 11 Types Of Friends You Will Have In Your Lifetime 12 Things Highly Productive People Don’t Do Visit a park 31 Things You Can Do Instead Of Spending Money

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next