Professional networking is vital to career growth. It involves getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return. Your network includes everyone from friends and family to work colleagues and members of groups to which you belong.
Expand your network Regularly attend professional and social events to get your face known. Contact professional organisations and use online social networking sites for information on upcoming events such as workshops, conferences or opportunities to meet other business professionals. You can then help to build your reputation as knowledgeable, reliable and supportive by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.
Build strong relationships Networking is about forming trust and working toward one another’s professional goals. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you sow the seeds for reciprocal assistance. When you need help, use your network for career progression.
Gain fresh ideas and information Networking is an excellent source of new ideas to help you progress in your role. You can exchange information on challenges, experiences and goals to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of. You can learn about best practices, the business techniques of your peers and stay abreast of the latest industry developments. A wide network of informed, interconnected contacts means broader access to new and valuable information.
Access to advice and support Gaining the advice and support of experienced peers is a key benefit of professional networking. Discussing common challenges and opportunities opens the door to valuable suggestions and guidance. Offering genuine assistance to your contacts also sets a strong foundation for receiving support in return when you need it.