A lot of people hate the word networking, and I understand why, but this is because it is often misinterpreted as ‘how do I meet and use people to get what I want’ and this is completely the wrong way to network.
Networking serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits, it’s not just about trading information.
Networking takes time, building valuable relationships with your network will not happen over night and shouldn’t be rushed, last minute when you need something from them. If you never interact with people in your industry other than to talk about yourself or to ask if they have a job for you then this is a fantastic asset that you are missing out on.
Networking isn’t difficult and you can do it wherever you are – LinkedIn, interest pages, conferences and code camps, all social events count as a networking opportunity!
The most important thing is TALK TO PEOPLE.
Networking is an essential asset if you truly want to build your career, and here are just a few reasons why:
- It’s an avenue to exchange ideas. The best way of determining how much you truly know is by listening to other people. Success in any profession is largely recognized by the pool of information or ideas you have gained throughout it. Creating and interacting with your network encourages a trade of ideas and this not only helps you but your network.
- It makes you noticeable. Individuals that seek publicity for business, leverage more on networking. When you stand out in both your expertise and the services you offer, it creates room for partnership which in turn builds a career.
- Avenue for newer opportunities. When people in your network get to know you and trust you this can open the door for newer opportunities. Opportunities like meeting the right clients or even meeting people that are superior to your career path could be a springboard that could change your life for the better.
- Support from high profile individuals. Good networking with prestigious individuals from the same or similar career paths can serve as support should you ever need it. Having these individuals in your network will also aid in a growth of status. The contacts that you keep are largely attributed to your growth. They influence the growth in your status and pave the way for better opportunities in your career.
- Instant career advice and support. An important benefit of networking is the advice you can get from your peers. You can discuss common challenges and get feedback and solutions of them. Remember to offer your assistance to others in your network too. The more you give, the stronger the quality of your network.
Investing in the people in your network is simple. What is the one thing that everyone loves to talk about? Themselves! If you are willing to help them when they need it then they will ultimately return the favour. Here are examples of small things that you can do when meeting people to network with that will be of positive impact to them:
LinkedIn: Make connections with people you meet and work with, write good and professional recommendations for them, they may do the same and that’s something that not only other employers can see but will also paint you in a good light to the rest of your network.
At Conferences: Go up to the speakers at the conference and thank them for their time, give them compliments or even ask them questions about their talk. They will appreciate the effort and if they are speaking at a conference they are a very good person to have in your network!
Join groups for people with similar interests: These are great people to speak to as you know you have something in common and it should make them very easy to speak to!
Social events (like after parties to conferences): Again, you’re all there for the same reason and you have something easy to talk about with everyone there. As a side note it is recommended by some not to drink too much at these events, even if everyone else is, but who are we to tell you how to have a good time.