How to OWN Your Career Journey Through Effective Networking
Time and again we hear that learning how to building the right connections and networking a ton is crucial to our career advancement or scaling your business. But how do you actually build your network? but what can you do to set yourself up for success?
In this blog we’ll point out the obvious mistakes we make and how we can improve to make sure we have a better experience and get the most out of your networking adventure.
#1: Drop your personal agenda.
- Obviously you will get to be in the same room with people you don’t interact with on a daily basis. While it is tempting to jump on the opportunity to seek to look for a new job or hand out business cards to market your business or something else, let this be the last thing in your mind.
- Instead, come with an open mind, seek out ways you can use your knowledge and skills to help out others. Most events will have an agenda or may be tailored to your industry, thus will give you an idea of what you can talk about.
- Don’t reach out to others only when you need something from them, be generous and aim to give before you ask.
#2: Listening is everything – listen actively and intently:
- Ask questions about what the other party is doing and you will be surprised that though you may work in the same industry, there are some things you may not know.
- If you cannot offer any help personally, share a contact or referral that would be in a position to. You may need to follow up later on this after checking in on your contacts’ availability.
#3: Stay in touch with your networks:
- Building meaningful relationships with others involves a high level of communication. Check in on your connections periodically. Send an email or text to “say hello” connect on Social media .
- This can also help in strengthening your most subtle relationships like former schoolmates or old colleagues.
#4: Diversify your network:
- Find ways to connect with people outside your industry. Do this to avoid making your network “clumpy”.
- A diverse network opens up doors to help you meet people you would otherwise not meet and would be instrumental in your career or business.
- Do this by: Pushing yourself to engage in conversations about topics outside your usual context. Try attending an event you’ve never gone to outside your industry or department. To make this less intimidating, start by reading some articles on the sector or signing up for an industry-focused e-mail newsletter.
- An easier way to start doing this can be by starting in your organization, talk to people in different departments and get to know what a day in their professional life looks like. Get to learn about their interests outside work and build on that.
#5: Get out there!
- Learning to network is not easy, but with practice, you get better. Attend events, reach out to people, ask questions and seek advice and guidance on how to start and build strong networks.
- Find out ways you can contribute to what others need. Build a reputation around being reliable. Follow through with any promises made and remember not to over-commit.
- The only way people will remember you is by the impact you made. “If your presence does not make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference”