By Martha Grant | TeamWomen Member | Product Manager at The Action Network

We all know that our networks are crucial for our success. They connect us to new jobs, new opportunities and can help us learn and grow. But when it comes to building a network, it can sound like hard, unpleasant work. Especially if, like me, a quiet evening with a hot cup of tea and a good book sounds like hygge-ful heaven!

But building a stellar network doesn’t have to be hard or work. It can actually be downright fun. Here are some tips for how to create a thriving network that furthers your success, and helps you enjoy (nearly) every minute of it.

1. Be You

One of the things people hate most about networking is the feeling that they have to put on a mask and pretend to be that perfectly put together woman. Good news: you don’t! The most successful networkers embrace who they are, and are open about what they are working on and how they are looking to improve. Being vulnerable, and sharing who you really are, also builds deeper connections faster — meaning more people will want to help you succeed.

Of course, learning to embrace who you are is a task in itself. One of my favorite reads on this topic is Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.

2. Everyone Wants to Talk to You

Picture this: you show up at a networking event and don’t know anyone. You have flashbacks to middle school dances and that awkward wedding you went to in your 20s. But instead of running away, you realize that you are at a networking event, and everyone here actually wants to talk to you. Are you early in your career? Folks love helping people who are just getting started. Do you have experience in a specific field? Chances are someone is interested in your expertise. Worst case scenario: you meet some new people and learn something new. Not so bad, right?

3. Give More

Who makes the best networker and builds the strongest networks? Givers. The more you give, the more people want to help you succeed. Stay on the lookout for how you can help others, and your network will grow by leaps and bounds! Do you have a connection that would be helpful, or some expertise you can volunteer? Put yourself out there!

For more on how and why you should give (while also not sapping all your energy), read Give & Take by Adam Grant.

With TeamWomen behind you, 2019 will be a great success. Happy networking!

Join us for Speed Networking with NAWBO on January 17th, and our Energy Breakfast on February 12th. As always, if you like this post, please share!