Networking. What does that mean to you? How do you get started?
It’s been loosely defined as a structure consisting of individuals or organizations with some form of commonality. It could be regional, religious, industry specific, fraternity relationships, or any other affiliation linkage.
Why Networking is Important
Clearly, networking is important for leadership and professional success. But why?
We think Matthew Moran says it perfectly:
I view professional networking as the single most important skill in career development.
Some networking seems to happen automatically. A relationship may develop through good work ethics, shared behaviors and values, appreciated skills, or the successful attainment of common goals. Other times a bit more work is required.
To get started, identify your interests. (We’ll stick with career networking.) What line of work are you in? What is your position? What do you aspire your position to be? You may not be seeking a promotion or a new position now, but establishing network ties and having the time to strengthen relationships will serve you well.
PeopleTek’s Networking Suggestions
- Maintain relationships with past co-workers/customers/bosses.
- Utilize past relationships to increase your business contacts.
- Create a “board of directors” that will provide you with impactful feedback and share growth and career opportunities for you.
- Seek a mentor at work, preferably a higher ranking person that can prepare you for the next level, provide a reference, and possibly open new doors for you.
- Attend industry/network events.
- Ask for business cards and send an email as a follow-up.
- Practice engaging strangers in conversation. A sample conversation could include:
- What do they like best about their job?
- What skills do they consider to be their strength?
- What would they like to see change?
Don’t procrastinate! Establish a network now.
Join organizations with the potential to further your career.
Develop your people skills. What could you do better?