There are a number of how to network articles, podcasts, and courses out there. I am going to let you research the ins and outs of networking by visiting the oracle that is Google. Before you run out to follow the ins and outs of networking per Google. Let’s discuss whether you are interesting enough for people to want to network with you in the first place. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but human beings are fickle beings. We all want to network with interesting people. Who wants to network with a bore and someone who isn’t really living life? You know you use the same logic when deciding if you want to follow someone on social media.
Are you living life to the fullest, AfriGens?
Before you go on the networking circuit, let’s do a bit of self-auditing. Whether you’re networking with colleagues at the water cooler or with strangers at an evening event, you have to have interesting tales or facts to share. How do you get those facts or tales to share about yourself? Well, you live life to the fullest. This means you are well read, you travel near and far, you go to events that you are passionate about, and you are open to new ideas and adventures.
Become well-read to push your interesting meter up a notch
Don’t read just any books, start with books that tell you about your history/people and then go from there. I am biased towards African/African American literature. I am biased because I wholeheartedly believe these books awaken our self-confidence and bring about greater understanding of who are as individuals and as a people which allows us to find our inner badass. African literature gets us woke and propels us forward. You’ll become interesting within a month after reading a few books, I promise, it works.
Travel near and far
If you have the means to travel far, go! You will come back with eyes wide open and with interesting stories to share. If you can’t travel far, start in your backyard. Visit museums, historical landmarks, local joints, and interesting venues to broaden your outlook. Travel expands your worldview which brings about renewed understanding and interests.
Seek out interesting events in your area
A quick search on meetup.com or eventbrite will give you a handy list of events in your area to take advantage of. This Afropolitan Life has a running list of TAL-approved events too. Make it a point to go to at least one event a month to broaden your perspective on a specific topic. Use the events as professional development. Let go of the idea that professional or personal development can only be garnered at traditional conferences or in the classroom. You’ll be amazed by how much you can glean at events.
Be open to new ideas and adventures
Some of us Afrigens are total homebodies. After all, we were raised to view our homes, churches or mosques as our refuge. You’ve got to branch out, my loves. Look up a hiking trail in your area on Trip Advisor. Call your crew and take that hike. Yes, AfriGens we can go camping. We’ve lived happily in nature before the word camping was coined. Take that camping trip. If you’ve wanted to ski, golf, skydive (don’t tell your mother) or take that painting class or sewing class, go for it! Being open to new ideas and adventures will show you a new side of yourself and open you up to new passions. Having passions and hobbies help you get through the monotony of the workweek, and sometimes injects life into your career in surprising ways.
Whichever adventure you choose, make sure it is one that you find interesting and is something you’ve always wanted to explore, because being interesting is all about living authentically and passionately. Exploring things that you find interesting is the first step to connecting with yourself and others.