"Your network is your net worth." - Porter Gale
In today's hyper-competitive professional landscape, the influence of networking cannot be gainsaid. As Porter Gale, aptly, puts it: Your Network is your net worth.
The more connected you are, the more leverage you are likely to have when it comes to promotion, seeking new business opportunities, coaching and mentoring opportunities or simply enhancing your career growth.
That said, the true value lies not just in the number of connections but in the quality and effectiveness of your networking strategies.
Toward this goal, you need an effective and strategic networking strategy to network effectively.
In a work environment, Networking strategies are deliberate plans or actions that assist professionals in developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with other professionals -usually of the same industry - with the objective of realizing certain professional goals.
These can include, attending networking events, joining professional associations, connecting with mentors, engaging with people online(such as Linkedin groups, etc), and hiring a leadership coach among others.
A network strategy can make all the difference in moving you up the career ladder. It is essential to operational network in the following ways:
For starters, ask, what do I want to get out of networking strategy?
These should be clear and specific goals — preferably tailored to your career goals — that you need to realize.
This way, you will define what you want to achieve out of the networking strategy and set out a clear plan of action. For example, this can include finding a mentor, looking for new opportunities, exploring new ideas, or simply meeting other professionals with common interests.
Also known as trade shows, Industrial events bring together individuals, businesses, and organizations within a certain industry. These occasions offer a stage for presenting goods, services, new projects, innovations, and know-how associated with a specific industry.
When you get to attend these events, you get to enhance your personal network, get perspective from other organizations,
Examples of industrial events include conferences, seminars, trade shows, and networking events related to your field.
Professional organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) for healthcare professionals, the Project Management Institute (PMI) for project managers, or the American Bar Association (ABA) for lawyers chiefly represent advance and represent members' interests. These organizations often host networking events, workshops, and online communities where you can connect with like-minded professionals.
Fun fact: There are over 10,274 Professional Organizations in the United States -ibisworld
Becoming visible in such an organization can enable you to meet many professionals and establish meaningful connections.
Engage in professional networking on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and relevant online forums.
To get the best outcome, understand how each platform works and then share valuable content, participate in discussions, and can help you connect more with professionals in your field.
For example, Linkedin favors content that offers "knowledge and advice" and will give you more reach.
In addition to understanding how social media works, and actually using it effectively for strategic networking, you can make deliberate steps in expanding your online presence through initiatives such as: getting a personal website, having a youtube channel, co-author publication on your niche, positioning yourself as a go-to expert can help an online personality that you can leverage later on.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! Establishing a valuable network is no mean fete as such, nurturing an existing network is a necessary evil.
You maintain and strengthen relationships with your current contacts by regularly reaching out, offering assistance, managing up, and staying updated on their professional endeavors.
For example, a quick chat over Slack or Whatsapp can be vital for preventing networks connection from going cold.
Mentees are promoted 5 times more often than those without mentors- Forbes
Identify experienced professionals who can provide guidance and support. These are people who have been there and done it. They know their way around the industry and can be valuable for reaching out to more people.
Your first objective should be selecting the right mentor. These are individuals who possess the knowledge, experience, and skills relevant to your career goals. For example, if your goal is to learn more about the inner workings of your industry, the idea of getting a mentor who has been in the industry for a long duration assists with this endeavor.
Actively seek mentors within your industry who can offer valuable insights and advice to help you advance in your career.
Volunteering offers you the chance to make personal connections through the demonstration of skills and character. Moreover, it passes a message that you can go above and beyond when it matters.
Fun fact: Did you know that 64- million Americans volunteer annually?
As one of the networking strategies, you can network effectively by engaging in industry-specific volunteering initiatives. For example, working as a software developer, you can volunteer to maintain software on your industry community service initiatives.
This not only allows you to contribute to a cause you care about but also exposes you to new networks and potential professional connections.
Informational interviews will enable you to obtain crucial information about a particular industry, trends, statistics, or your relationship with key personnel.
This is usually a conversation between someone seeking information (the interviewee) and an industry professional or expert (the interviewee).
During such interviews, be sincere, communicate effectively, ask thoughtful questions, and show your passion for the job and the field. Remember, these meetings are not job interviews, but opportunities for learning and connection. Embrace the chance to learn from experienced professionals and foster meaningful relationships.
Always remember that meaningful partnerships are a two-way street.
Most people are attracted to a person who brings something to the table. For example, are you a strategic thinker who can enrich ideas?
Moreover, be proactive when offering assistance, insights, or resources to your professional or personal network. This Providing builds trust, strengthens relationships, and increases the likelihood of reciprocity in the future.
When you mentor others, you help in creating a circle of friends. The benefit of this is that you develop strong bonds and create an operational network that you can leverage later on when a need arises(paying it forward).
This is particularly important for rising stars within your industry as it is only a matter of time before they rise into a position of influence.
Here are some tips on how to use networking strategies the right way:
People can spot a serious person or fake a mile away, so it's important to be genuine and authentic when you're networking. For example, don't try to be someone you're not, and don't just talk to people because you think they can help you.
Instead, focus on building genuine relationships and learning how to be coachable. This is particularly important when working with mentors.
Don't just expect people to help you when you need it.
Be helpful and supportive of others as well. This will show that you feel uncomfortable're a valuable asset to have in a network, and it will make people more open mind likely to want to help you in the future.
Networking takes time and effort. Rejection is part of the game and you should not take it personally.
Don't expect to build a strong network overnight. See it as a marathon event.
Just keep putting yourself out there and focus on meeting new people, and eventually, you'll start to see results.
People love to talk about themselves, so ask them questions to talk about their work, their interests, and their goals. Open-ended questions can greatly assist in this process.
This will show select people that you're interested in them and that you're not just there to promote yourself.
Some examples of questions include:
Overcoming shyness or fear of networking events requires a gradual approach. Start by setting small, achievable goals, such as initiating a conversation with one new person at an next networking event. Practice active listening and ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing. Remember that everyone is there to network, so don't be afraid to introduce yourself and share your interests and experiences.
Some tactics include: Regularly reaching out to your contacts to check in on their progress and offer support, sharing relevant and valuable information, and attending industry events and conferences to meet your connections in person and strengthen your bond. & being proactive in offering help or assistance whenever possible without expecting immediate reciprocation.
Entrepreneurs can employ several strategic networking strategies to grow their businesses: Building relationships with potential customers, partners, and investors, collaborating with other businesses in complementary niches to expand their reach and customer base, and joining local business associations and chambers of commerce to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and community leaders.
An effective networking strategy involves building and nurturing genuine relationships to expand your professional connections and opportunities. It includes attending industry events, joining online networking platforms like LinkedIn, and actively engaging in conversations with like-minded individuals. By offering support, sharing valuable insights, and maintaining regular contact with your network, you can create a strong presence in your field and unlock new possibilities for personal and career growth.
As a growth-minded individual keen on career success, networking strategies are vital in not only enhancing your career path but also, nurturing relationships that can be leveraged later on. At Highrise, we offer coaching opportunities for professionals looking at enhancing networking skills to enhance their professional growth.
By Offering practical tools for negotiation, team management, effective communication, and work-life balance, Highrise will equip you to build meaningful connections and excel in your career.
Highrise is a comprehensive platform for individuals seeking to strengthen their networking abilities, network, and achieve professional success.
Reach out today for a solution that works for you.