Why networking is important and how to do it right

Networking isn’t too difficult despite what some of us may think. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone and venturing from one social circle to the next. Eventually, you will come across people who share the same interests as you.

It’s pretty straightforward. The more you connect with people the more your network grows. And so do the perks that come along with it. When you see an opportunity to foster friendships with people from the same career path, just take a deep breath and go for it.

If you’re still not clear on what do, here’s a quick starter’s guide to get things moving.

1. Establish a rapport

Networking is essentially all about building genuine relationships with people within the industry. It makes life easier when you’re able to “click” with someone instantly without too much effort. And that’s always a great confidence booster.

You can break the ice with anything that comes to mind; it doesn’t necessarily have to be a work-related topic. Just be yourself. Make each other feel at ease by exchanging jokes, talking about hobbies or other common interests. Try to eliminate as much awkwardness as possible.

The whole point of networking goes beyond making good impressions. It’s about forming lasting friendships so you don’t end up becoming just another name on a business card.

You want the person to remember you wholeheartedly so grab every chance when it comes to mingling; whether that means a lunch invitation, a meeting over drinks or something unexpected. Like, a random encounter in an elevator.

2. Keep in touch

Keeping in touch with your contacts is a vital element of networking. Once the foundation is laid you want to retain and strengthen all those new relationships you just built. And that’s best done by maintaining active communication.

Reach out to your new friends every so often with the occasional phone call, text or e-mail. Interact with them on social media. Post on their wall, comment on their status updates or drop a quick “Hi!” in their inbox every once in a while.

Once all the formalities are out of the way you can plan more personal meets. Like a coffee date or brunch that can help create a closer bond. This will ultimately grant you more insight into the world you work in.

If you fail to keep in touch then there’s no point reading the next chapter. Your story ends right there.

3. Helping hands

Networking is basically a two-way avenue. The more you help out the more favors you’ll get back in return.

It’s like playing a co-op video game. You can’t complete certain missions without a partner providing occasional assistance to help you along the way. By the same token you want to help out when your partner is in need.

In a professional context always offer before you ask and take a genuine interest in other people’s projects.

Reach out from time to time and ask your friend if he/she needs a few helping hands; this will greatly enhance your reputation and credibility as people will start to observe a more attractive personality in you.

If you don’t have intimate knowledge in your friend’s project, provide a contact that can out help out instead. Having a contact in your pocket that can help a friend is synonymous with helping them yourself.

Words can have a powerful influence on people. Remember to thank or show gratitude in any shape or form when your friend agrees to help you.

4. Bring a wingman

Attending an event alone can be daunting when you’re in a crowded room full of new faces.

Having a buddy by your side when you’re networking will boost your confidence and help take away some of the awkwardness. Bringing a friend from a different company is even better. It’ll break the ice more quickly and will stir up more interesting topics to discuss.

Finally, a friend can help take some of the load off if you notice the conversation is becoming one-sided. Talking about yourself all night can get a little redundant. That’s when your friend enters and spins the conversation and stops you from bragging about your own agenda.

5. Mix and match

Make an effort to attend a variety of events as much as possible.

Going to summits and seminars allows you to connect with influential people on a more personal level. The more you explore the greater access you’ll get to people from other relevant fields in the industry. That’s a valuable asset to have in your arsenal.

Speaking out at different summits and seminars gives a platform to offer your thoughts and ideas to others even if it’s an event you wouldn’t normally consider attending.

Doing all this strengthens your reputation and eventually, you’ll be able to influence others to join your cause.

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All in all networking is a make-or-break game, but once you’ve mastered the ropes it’s a lot less intimidating.

There is no substitute for relationship building. Think of it as a long-term investment, the more hands you shake the more benefits you’ll receive in return.

Be confident and come dressed with a smile. And as long as you have this basic toolkit the rest will come naturally.

Things to consider while learning a new language

All of us at some point in our lives do consider learning a new language. Maybe it’s because you want to study abroad or to boost up your resume or simply because of your K-pop fandom. Whatever the reason may be, the idea of becoming bilingual or a multilingual speaker does have its perks. But nothing in life comes that easy. I came across many people who worked every day to be fluent in their target language. So, before you start learning do consider these things that can help you along the road.

Say goodbye to Google translator:

Things to consider while learning a new language

“It is a bad idea to use it, especially for us Bengali speaking people. Every language has its own complexities, be it for grammatical structure or word stock, and Google translator, as a system, cannot comprehend it all. I found bizarre Spanish translations, but in Bengali, it’s even worse” says Nusrat Maati a former student of Institute of modern languages (IML).

Try using a pocket dictionary or a dictionary app instead. It helps to get the proper translation along with a variety of examples. Apps like Duolingo, FluentU, Memrise are great for practice because of their interactive features. So, don’t be lazy and install away.

Try to accept the language barriers:

Things to consider while learning a new language

It’s crucial to bear in mind that each language has its own attributes. Things get super easy when we find similarities but can get twice as much hard when there aren’t any. So don’t get overwhelmed when you see new things that are absent in your native language.

French and Spanish languages are generally gender based. Every object is either masculine or feminine which makes it hard for a non-native speaker to differentiate between them. It can get quite frustrating at the beginning for some.

Watch Movies, TV shows, Talk shows, and YouTube Tutorials:

Things to consider while learning a new language

Developing your listening ability at the beginning is the right way to go. Many language learning methods focus on very strict listening activities. To make your listening activities fun try watching shows or movies with subtitles. Also, like always YouTube can offer you many basic language tutorials.

“Watching movies did help me a lot. It automatically helped me enrich my vocabulary, learned how native speakers communicate and helped to develop a better accent. Plus, it was a good source of entertainment too” says Marjuka Afzal currently doing her diploma at Alliance Franceas De Dhaka.

Be committed:

Things to consider while learning a new language

Commitment is very important. Never take your language classes for granted. If you want to learn properly make sure you don’t miss out on classes on a regular basis. And if you are leaning at home don’t take long gaps in between. Dedicate 2/4 hours weekly for practice.

“Continuity should be the primary concern. I remember missing out on quite a few classes back to back on sentence making and grammatical structure. Later when I went back after a gap I was not able to catch up.” Says another student of IML Noor Uddin Saikat.

Don’t just memorize without context:

bookworms HiFi Public

Even if you get long verb lists from class or the Internet. Don’t just memorize random words at once because language is a matter of processing. Start with the very basic daily used words and try making sentences with them.

“When we learned new German words, we primarily were given pictures. Started with naming the things in the classroom, or grocery shopping list, or a trip to the airport. We hardly ever needed to memorize” says Trishna Mutsuddy a former student of Gothe institute.

Communication is a must:

Things to consider while learning a new language

No matter how many lessons you take or how many audiobooks you practice. None of this will do you any good unless you converse with people. If you are already taking classes in your target language, talk among your classmates. If you are learning on your own, find someone who is a better speaker than you. One hour of conversational practice with a person helps you more than doing five classes.

It will take hours and hours of awkward and embarrassing conversations before you learn to speak without errors. “I remember once our Spanish instructor asked my age. And I accidentally said that I was 109 years old” says a Yoga teacher Shahnaz Sultana.

According to Jaime Cossa, a language Instructor at IML, the ability to master a language differs from person to person. For an average person, it can take 6 months to a year to do very basic communication. But it wholly depends on your motivation and the effort you put to it. If you are willing to make this commitment there are many places in the city from where you can get a degree. For each level, it may cost you around 8-10 thousand Taka minimum depending on the place and course you take. However, if you don’t have the time for that, consider learning at home. Purchase audiobooks, dictionaries and use all the online sources you find that can help you along the way. It may seem like a lengthy process now but the benefits you get afterwards are countless.