Networking is one of the key words of recent months. What is it really all about and what can it be useful for?
In one of my previous paragraphs I wrote about the benefits of attending industry meetings. They usually include also networking sessions. Just to remind you briefly, networking is building relations that enable exchange of professional information, knowledge, and support. Reciprocity is an important feature of this process. You should not perceive networking only as interest-seeking, though. You should not confuse it with friendship either, but there is no point in demonising it. The benefits of networking include:
Greater visibility on the labour market – it may turn out very helpful if you want to change your employer. People with many contacts in the industry are often bombarded with job offers. You can draw benefits from it even if you do not really want to leave your company, e.g. when trying to negotiate a pay rise or get a promotion.
Saving time – mostly the time needed to acquire knowledge. In networking contacts it happens fast and naturally.
A network of reliable contacts – simply. There is nothing more precious in the business environment than recommendation of someone else.
Opportunity to help others – it gives you ordinary human joy and satisfaction. Besides, it builds your position as an authority and a reliable person.
Being up to date with industry news – it’s connected with the time-efficiency mentioned above. Having a good network of contacts you do not have to strain to receive reliable and interesting industry news. And we all know that in the IT sector you always have to be up to date.
Building your personal brand – i.e. personal branding, this topic has been discusses quite often lately in the channels connected with coaching or personal development. By definition, it’s a process of creating a brand around yourself, with special emphasis on professional achievements.
And what should we not do in efficient networking?
First of all, like in all kinds of human contacts, you should not be intrusive. You should of course be tactful and interested in what the other person has to say. Making contacts only because someone works for a specific company or has a specific position is unlikely to produce positive results.
Summing up, when attending meetings, events, conferences, and trainings, do not avoid contact with other participants. Such acquaintances might turn out to be beneficial sooner than you may think.