We all know that networking is one of the key factors in professional success. You network by meeting people who have the ability to help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary for your career. By advancing your career, you will then be able to return the favour. However, bear in mind that while it is important to build a network, it is crucial that you build one that lasts to increase your productivity.
See Also: A Guide to Networking for Shy People
If you have a successful team of high-performance individuals, it is guaranteed that your team will make smarter decisions as a whole than a single person. Even though there is so much talk about how effective teams of successful peers are, there is little action. It isn’t very difficult to build that team of people; there are just a few basic steps that you need to follow:
1. Finding Individuals for Networking
The first thing to remember is to make lasting connections in your office environment. It may seem like a no-brainer, however, people tend to forget or omit their colleagues, mentors or supervisors and start looking for outsiders. It’s easier and more effective for you to build a network with people who you spend hours with, see every day and share similar objectives. Make that bond strong, and you can venture out of your office and expand your team.
Apart from your office environment, you can find other interested individuals at industry-related events such as professional conferences or after-hours gatherings. You must always be prepared to network- you never know when you will meet a future client or business partner.
Networking for your career doesn’t always need to happen in a professional environment. Don’t ignore any social gatherings such as holidays or a friend’s birthday party. Your friends could put in a good word for you and spread the word about who you are and what you have to offer.
2. Cultivating Relationships in a Network
You need to treat networking the same way you build a relationship with your best friend; the same basic rules apply. If you say you are going to send information or call, then make sure to do so or else you will be seen as an unreliable or untrustworthy networking buddy. You need to treat them with respect so they will be able to trust you to build a strong and successful network.
3. Different Types of Connections
You should connect with individuals who have knowledge and skills you don’t have. You shouldn’t be intimidated by people who are masters in their industry; you will always learn something from them. But, you need to remember that you also need to expand your network with connections from all levels. Even those who are steps behind you in the professional world are valuable connections. You could help them build their goals and give them something to look up to.
An ever-expanding network of professionals will help you break into the next level in your career. Take the time to establish and maintain your network for the best benefit.
Do you find networking to be beneficial to your career? What rules do you follow?