The importance of networking | Main Region
The importance of networking
However, as we resume life in the workplace, and as public gatherings in general restart, face-to-face events are back on. That means face-to-face networking is back on, too.
What is networking?
According to one global study from LinkedIn, 80 per cent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success. The survey also found that 70 per cent of respondents had been hired by an organisation where they had an existing connection.
Clearly, a little bit of networking can go a long way. In this article, we examine the value of face-to-face networking. You can read more on digital networking here.
Influential networking experts Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap categorise the networks people join into three groups: personal, operational and strategic. The best networks, they say, comprise all three categories.
Scenario example: You work in marketing, and your connection works in real estate. You play in the same soccer team. The real estate agent is looking to refresh his organisation's marketing collateral. You mention your marketing agency specialises in brand strategy workshops. Your connection books a consultation with your agency. It is the beginning of an ongoing partnership between both organisations.
Scenario example: You work in the product team of a large confectionary organisation. You need complicated sales information from your organisation's sales department. You also need obscure stock information from your logistics department. One of the sales managers you are close to is the perfect person to help. You are friendly, and you regularly support each other. The manager quickly shares her knowledge and resources with you. She also connects you with the right contact in logistics. She sees that logistics promptly share resources with you, too. With her support, you save considerable time and money.
Scenario example: A financial institution visits a school to teach students about financial literacy. The school community derives value from contributing to the wider education of their pupils. The financial institution increases future financial decision makers’ awareness of what they do.
Develop all three networks
How to network: best-practice tips for successful networking
Others may associate networking with bad canapes and an endless collection of business cards.
Networking is usually a completely different experience that ultimately aids your career success. From great conversation to new industry insights and even job opportunities, expanding your network with new contacts can have many advantages.
Below we outline how to network and provide our top networking tips, so you can purpose your networking efforts into new business and career opportunities.
Be equipped to network
If possible, research organisations and other professionals attending the event. Identify those professionals and organisations you most want to meet and prepare relevant talking points. This will help avoid stumbling conversations and allow you to experience meaningful interactions.
Investigate industry events, business events and conferences in your area of professional development. Explore Chambers of Commerce and Industry for networking opportunities. Participate in workshops. These environments are ideal opportunities to get to know people with professional shared interests.
Add value to your networking relationships
Build on your relationships
Be prepared to invest time and energy into these relationships to strengthen them longer-term.
The benefits of networking for your overall career
Networking is highly beneficial to your professional development. Inside your organisation, your operational network can be full of mentors, thought leaders and colleagues from across the business world with specialist skills and knowledge they can share with you.
The more you build your network, the more exposure you have to new ideas, professional advice, support, intelligence and strategic insights - these network resources have the potential to impact your professional success.
Remember, just like your career, your network and professional relationships develops over time. The more time and energy you invest into your networking, the more it does for you in return.