Network Your Way to Success
With the increasing use of online networking tools, a growing number of professionals are left wondering how to network in the real world. Whilst the use of networking online has its advantages in today’s workplace, learning to network effectively face to face is an invaluable tool.
Networking can be one of the most powerful ways to build professional relationships, actively foster contacts and disseminate information. There are many proven, interactive techniques that assist corporations and people to achieve business success through the art of networking.
What makes a successful network?
A successful network requires a mutual understanding from the start that it is both about what you can do for your contact and what they can do for you. Building a network requires a commitment to helping others. You must show a genuine concern and interest in others that will help build the credibility and trust which is the mainstay of establishing an effective network. The development of a strong network requires making connections that will sustain more than a simple introduction, a successful relationship takes time and effort to build. Those connections, and the support required to maintain them, are the necessary ingredients to developing a network.
What are the benefits of networking?
- Allows you to cross share initiatives and ideas
- Develops a group of resources that you can refer to for advice, tips and knowledge
- Expands your contact group
- Puts your name “out there”
- Can result in leaving a good impression of you and your company
How to network and build professional relationships
Not sure where to begin? Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to expanding your network.
Research various networking groups, associations and contacts to find out what will work for you.
promote yourself effectively. Remember that you have something to offer as well.
Communicate effectively. Be articulate, concise, enthusiastic, honest and open. Remember to listen when engaged in conversation as it is critical to remember key points in conversations.
Don’t just stand in one place, speak with as many people as you can at a networking function. Establish the basics and arrange another time to have a more detailed discussion.
Treat everyone as equals
There is no real value in title or prestige alone. Value is in the information and support people can give, which often comes from surprising sources. A network is not a bureaucracy or a hierarchy; rather it is a level and fair playing field. The more people you are in contact with at all levels the more opportunities/information you will be exposed to.
Follow through on your commitments, both to yourself and others. Keep records to remember what you have committed to do.
Organise yourself, collect cards from the contacts that you have made in order to remember important details.