Career advancement is not only about what you do, but even more importantly, who you know. Having a strong network and nurturing it will help you take the next steps necessary to have a career that is challenging and gives you the opportunities for advanced roles in your career.
Networking is an art. Dictionary.com’s definition of networking is: “To cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position”. Wherever you are, talk to people who surround you and have a defined plan in place.
According to “Becoming a Master Networker” webinar by Amy Bingham, Bingham Consulting, follow this roadmap:
- Prepare – Conduct research on where like-minded people congregate, select ideal groups (in-person business meetings and social networking sites such as LinkedIn Groups). Understand what is important to these groups, so you will be able to make contributions that are helpful to each group.
- Engage – Have a few good conversations with people and take good notes verses just collecting business cards. Make sure people can understand in simple terms what you do when you introduce yourself and how they can help you.
- Position Value – Be able to articulate what makes you different and why people enjoy working with you and/or your company. People need to understand how they will benefit.
- Assist – Networking is a two way street, so let the people you network with know you are looking for referral partners. Find out what they do and how you might be able to assist them. Be sincere and a good listener!
- Follow Up – Within 48 hours, follow up with the person’s referral as well as with the person who had helped you with your network and gave you the referral.
- Nurture – Stay in touch and share information that might be helpful to your network. Examples would be hiring tips and thought leadership articles on their industry. Use Google Alerts to obtain articles weekly and keep up to date on current trends.
Get started today in becoming a power networker! The easiest way to begin is to make a list of all the people who can help you achieve the success you are looking for: friends, co-workers, and groups you can join both online and in-person. Make sure you know why each person and group is important to you. Every opportunity that you meet a new person or even someone you have known for awhile, can turn into a powerful referral. Think about your last job or the last item you purchased, was it through a referral?