How many times have you been told how important networking is? I’m guessing one too many. Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. Your network includes everyone from friends and family to work colleagues and members of groups to which you belong.
The importance of networking cannot be over emphasized. It is not only about meeting people; active networking is also vital to career growth. Here are a few networking tips that are sure to give your career the boost it needs.
Content: Everyone needs to develop a strategy for getting new content. This is how you can make sure you are better every day than the day before. It could be through reading, listening to podcasts, watching self-help videos or having meaningful conversations with people in your network. Networking gives you a broader perspective and deeper insights into what you may already know. Whether you are planning on changing industries or you just want to increase your knowledge on the industry you’re in; networking is a sure way to learn more about the business, understand the industry better and hear about the challenges faced by your colleagues.
Optics: Networking with the right people can raise your profile. Whether we like it or not, that photo of you shaking hands with Mark Zuckerberg or President Buhari puts you in a certain amiable light. It’s called optics and PR professionals know this game only too well. Don’t be shy, curate your optics. Attend professional and social events with the clear intention of speaking with, being seen with and photographed with specific personality profiles that will boost your reputation and social collateral. The trick to this is to be cool. You want to network but you don’t want to look obsequious. Make sure you look your best and you have great value to share. That way your ‘high profile networking target’ will not feel like a fish on a hook, but feel honored to be seen with you.
Boomerang: Networking gives you access to the entire network of every new contact you make. Expanding your contacts can open doors to new opportunities for business, career advancement, personal growth and new knowledge.
Stranger Scare: Don’t be afraid to walk up to a stranger, make eye contact and talk to them. Remember the worst thing they can say is no. The science here is this: if you ask 10 people, 8 will say no and 2 will say yes. So go ahead and ask. 2 times out of 10 you’ll get a yes. Imagine if that was a yes- ‘I will give you 5minutes to pitch your sale.’
Network Management: Your network is your net worth. The minute you lose face with one contact in your network, you’ve also lost their entire network of friends, contacts, and opportunities that you could have enjoyed if that relationship was well managed. Think about the lifetime value of your friends, family, and network and treat them like gold.
Don’t Be Selfish: Share this networking bible with your friends and see them at the top.