As an executive advisor, I strive to help professionals expand their presence, knowledge, and leadership skills in today’s complex and ever growing business world. One of the most significant and effective ways to progress your career is through the practice of networking.
Some business professionals believe that the best way to succeed is to focus entirely on oneself and one’s own work. They believe it is better to concern themselves with their own responsibilities and aspirations than to look around at what everyone else is doing. However, while growing as an individual is certainly significant, engaging and communicating with other professionals in your field is equally important; in fact it is essential.
Job networking plays a key role in the success of your career and of your business. The larger your business network, the larger potential you have to gain customers, job opportunities, recognition, and resources. Listed below are several essential networking techniques for any professional looking to increase their influence and success while creating real, powerful change in their industry.
1. Social Media
In today’s internet based society, many people are engaging more online than they are in person. Social media has provided us with numerous unique platforms that allow us to engage and interact with people who share our interests from all around the world. Through sites like Linkedin, Twitter, Crunchbase, About.me, and more, we are able to make connections with people we might otherwise never come into contact with. For this reason, building professional profiles and participating in conversations online are essential aspects of successful networking.
2. Conferences and Seminars
While social media has come to play a major role in today’s professional networking strategies, classic, face to face interactions are still very relevant and important. Attending conferences and seminars provides a great opportunity to make real, in person connections with leaders in your industry. Many conferences will provide published lists of all attendees of the event. To get a head start in the networking process, make a list of specific individuals you would like to meet that may help you gain valuable insight and move forward in your career endeavors.
3. Networking is a Two-Way Street
It is important to remember that networking is not meant to be used only for your own benefit. Instead, networking should be viewed as a two-way street. Networking isn’t all about figuring out how you can best gain from connecting with another individual. Networking is about building mutually valuable relationships. It is best if your goal in connecting with another is to see what value you can provide to them. If one side is gaining everything and giving nothing in return, the relationship is sure to fail or be very short lived.