First, some think it is unethical, that somehow you are using other people for your own ends. There is nothing wrong with pursuing your own self-interest, providing it does not harm others. But networking is also about helping others as well as yourself. It is not a zero-sum game; it should be a positive-sum game, where all involved may benefit.
The second objection is that many people find it difficult; they feel they lack the personality to be successful at it. They may be shy. But almost everyone finds networking difficult when they begin. We all find it difficult to interact with total strangers. But it is a skill you can learn by practice.
Later on, we shall suggest some very specific tips on how to deal with social occasions. Why should you network? First, it is an important means to achieving success in life, however you want to describe success. Second, it can be mutually beneficial, as the people you engage with can benefit from your knowledge and skills. It is not a one-way street. Third, it helps to build your community. We are not “isolated atomistic individuals” as we are sometimes portrayed. Everyone needs a sense of community, of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Finally, networking can be fun. Think of all those interesting people out there that you have not (yet) met and did not know even existed.
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