Networking helps your career or your business
Networking – most us have heard the message that networking is important. You have probably been told that you need to do it when you are looking for a job or if you starting a new business. But networking can do much more for you than that.
Yes, networking is very important indeed if you are looking for work.
Yes, getting in touch with people you have met in the past, explaining what you have to offer and asking for their help, can bring new opportunities. Your contacts can offer advice about their experiences of job search, the sector they work in and they can introduce you to others so that your network expands. But remember networking is a two way conversation and if you want to receive, you must be prepared to give. You can be an attentive audience and listen with interest and attention to what they have to say. You can share your own knowledge of your own sector and your contacts in return. Make it an on-going conversation and you can turn them into ambassadors who will talk about you and connect you with new possibilities.
Networking when you are in work
Networking is very helpful as well when you are in work – it can provide an important boost to your career prospects.
You need to be visible in your organization for the widest range of promotion prospects to come your way. It is great that your immediate boss knows how good you are at your job and how far you want to go, but what about their boss? And what about influential people in other parts of the organization, will they think of you when they have a senior role to fill? If you know how to network well, you can use your networking skills to help raise your profile. If you are very lucky, getting to know senior people will help to find the right mentor for you.
Networking within the organization, will help to keep you informed about opportunities but also potential threats. You want to be one of the first people to know about up and coming changes and what they might mean for you.
Networking outside the organisation, for example, at event run by professional organizations, can help to keep you up to date with developments including market changes or new legislation. You will learn about new trends and what that might mean for your own personal development plans. If you are a senior manager, networking outside the organization could help you to find the right recruit for that vacancy you know is on the horizon.
Networking for business
If you run a business. networking will help you maintain relationships with existing customers and help you find new ones. You can build you own word of mouth publicity and, when you have established a relationship with new contacts,you can ask for referrals. You will learn as well about market trends, potential legal changes and perhaps new opportunities for partnership, Again you can create ambassadors who talk to others about you and connect you with the right prospects.
Lots of business networking organizations exist – some free and some very expensive to join. They exist because generation after generation of business people have found that networking is a valuable way to support and expand their businesses.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link