Active networking is vital to career growth. Networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return.
Your network includes everyone from friends and family to work colleagues, business connections, your social network and members of groups to which you belong. A good network can provide job leads, possibilities for advancement and opportunities for personal improvement.
What is networking?
Networking isn't merely the exchange of information with others, it is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet, whether you're waiting to order your morning coffee, playing sports, or attending a work conference. You don't have to join several professional associations and attend every networking event that comes your way in order to be a successful networker. In fact, if you take your eyes off your smartphone when you're out in public, you'll see that networking opportunities are all around you every day.
Why is networking important?
Networking allows you access to opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. Your network has the potential to provide you with insight into different fields, information on what potential employers look for and advice on how you can improve professionally.
Why networking is important to your success
Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout the course of your career. Networking will help you develop and improve your skillset, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.
How to become an effective networker
1. Good Appearance
Maintaining a professional appearance with the right dress code. Showing trustworthy, friendly, open, and positive no matter how bad the economy is, complaining won’t get you business. Look the other person in the eye and stay focused on while he/she is talking.
2. Simple introduction
Keep your first introduction in 20-30 seconds if possible, speak out confidently and be clear. Try to include some interesting facts that would hook the other interest. Give people a chance to speak rather telling too much of your story. Whatever message you want to deliver, be accurate and professional. Along the way, develop your own style of presentation.
3. Taking wefie/selfie
It’s an effective way for ice-breaking during networking, everybody smiles in front of the camera. In addition, it’s easier for people to recall who you are after the events.
4. Giving a potential referral
After networking, if you realize anyone which is your prospect/power team, try to generate a referral for them, it will increase your credibility. In networking, we need to practice givers gain.
5. Arranging one to one meetings with prospects.
Try to arrange 1 to 1 meeting with any business prospect came across in the event in 2-3 days when the memory of the conversation was still fresh. The meeting could be casually catch up or business approach with a specific agenda depends on the type of person you are approaching.
6. Sharing/Like/Comment something post by your connection in social media.
Having engagement in social media would not cost us anything, showing support to their posting, having engaged in the long run would make you more visible about others.
7. Sharing out an article/insights/events of interest with the connection.
When we chat with people, we get to know their interests. Then, we share relevant content with them from time to time to build a relationship. Content u shared could indirectly reflect your personality or purpose.
8. Spot power team in an event.
Not all the time we spot prospect/client in the event, the power team could be useful too. Power teams are individuals that share the same target client with us without having competition. The purpose of having a power team is to utilize our resources and generate referrals for each other.
Final thoughts on the importance of networking
It's never too early — or too late — to invest in your network. The best way to improve your networking skills is to put yourself out there and give it a try. According to Baikowitz, "the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all."