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.
Skills of good networking
Not sure where to begin? Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to expanding your network.
Develop an action plan. Before attending an event or social outing, identify your objectives and how to go about achieving them. Ask yourself what your purpose is for networking and what you want to get out of it.
Research various networking groups, associations and contacts to find out what will work for you. Ask colleagues in a similar role, use the internet.
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’re 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.
Leverage off of one another. Both you and your new contacts can work together to achieve personal and professional goals.