The self-employed live and die by their network and so do the employed. Your network is your greatest career asset.
Networking is all about relationships. And relationships are fundamental to any kind of success. As you grow or transition your career you should be growing your network, too. Having a job does not lessen the importance of establishing strong connections with people inside and outside your organization. It is important to network before you need to.
The network you build does not necessarily have to be large, just filled with the right people. People that you meet and exchange value with and maintain a quality relationship with.
Some people find networking uncomfortable. It really doesn’t have to be. The discomfort comes from their perception of networking. In simplest form, networking is a series of one-on-one conversations with people you care about and who care about you. These conversations don’t happen by accident.
Networking is a process with a purpose.
The more diverse your network is, the more visible you’ll be and the easier it will be to meet new people.
Intention is Key
1. Know what you want to learn
Everyone’s time is a commodity these days. Before you request the time and attention of someone else know what it is you want to learn. Don’t make it just about you. Before you meet, take the time to find out what is going on in their world, too. Perhaps there is something you can help them with also.
2. Know who is the ideal person for you to talk to
This is where the value of maintaining a diverse network comes in. It keeps you aware of what other people are up to and gives you a variety of subject matter experts to pull from.
3. Know how to reach out
Know your ideal person’s preferred method of communication and use it. Is it email? Face-to-face meeting? A phone call? Facebook Messenger? LinkedIn Messaging? You will only know this information by having already formed a relationship. If it’s someone you are being introduced to, be sure to find out their preferred method of communication from whomever is introducing you
Nothing happens in this world without relationships. When you know people and they know you and what you have to offer, success knows how to find you.
Call to action:
Consider what you need to start doing today to develop your network and create stronger ties for tomorrow.