The idea of creating a personal brand, putting yourself out there and building a professional network isn’t new. Anyone who’s been in a professional environment knows the benefits of networking.
Not only does it help you meet new people in and beyond your industry but it also offers a glimpse into how other professionals network. You get to learn the latest developments in the business landscape. You can also build a platform where you can find new and better opportunities.
Career progression and advancement are deeply connected to the art of networking. In fact, they go hand in hand.
Discover the benefits of professional networking and how you can step out of your comfort zone to network with others.
An Introduction To Professional Networking
Professional networking is in essence the act of building meaningful relationships in the professional sphere. You may be a new hire in your organization, attending your orientation. This is an event where you can network, interact and engage with coworkers. You’ll have a chance to leave a lasting impression on your seniors. This will help you move forward when the time comes to delegate work, offer opportunities and better job responsibilities.
Here are some aspects of professional networking:
Not Just Professional Networking Events
It’s not restricted to professional events. Any event where you get to interact with people in a professional capacity is an opportunity to build connections. It may be social mixers, onboarding, training sessions, conferences or even alumni meets. The more you go out and participate in these events, the more you can gain from a career standpoint. You may just find a CEO who’s looking for someone for a specific job role suited to you. This is how professional networking goes. You never know what opportunity will come your way.
Who Are The People In Your Network?
Your network comprises people who work with you, your friends and even your mentors. Instead of approaching networking in terms of people outside your immediate environment, include everyone you engage with. The advantages of professional networking are that you get a chance to interact with people across industries and for different reasons. For instance, you may be communicating with your mentor and seeking advice. They can guide and encourage you in your career journey.
Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone
For people who aren’t keen on social engagement, networking can be quite daunting and challenging. Not only do you have to stand in a room full of strangers but you must also make conversation. If you’re someone who prefers working alone, this can be a mammoth task. But once you realize the advantages of networking, you’ll be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Putting yourself out there won’t be easy, but if you put your mind to it, you can get there.
Give Thanks Where It’s Due
An important part of networking is to acknowledge people where needed. If someone invited you to an event where you got to meet some amazing people, you must thank them for their help. You can always make time for people going out of their way to give you an opportunity. That’s what networking is all about. It’s about mutually beneficial relationships where each lends a helping hand.
Be A Giver, Not Just A Receiver
Don’t approach networking as a one-way street. If you’re expecting someone to help you, you can also return the favor. This helps you build stronger bonds with people. They’ll know they always have you to lean on in case of a crisis. Relationships are built on trust and if you can prove yourself trustworthy, you’ll have someone to rely on whenever you run into a roadblock.
Professional networking can help you make contacts wherever you go. You’ll have a more enriching experience as an individual contributor or a leader if you can build relationships. Focus on trust-based relationships to get the most out of all your interactions. Let’s discover the advantages of networking to understand its hand in your career plan.
Advantages Of Professional Networking
The advantages of networking translate in your everyday work, your larger goals and aspirations. When you’re meeting people who can actively help you in your career journey, you’re making a concerted effort to be one step closer to your destination. Networking not only helps you become more open-minded but also pushes you to be your best self.
Here are the key benefits of networking as a professional:
Building Trust-Based Relationships
Trust is the bedrock of all relationships—be it personal or professional. In the professional world, you need people you can rely on when the going gets tough. For instance, if you lose your job, you can reach out to someone in your network and ask for their help. They may know of vacancies and openings you can explore. The benefits of networking are far and wide, but trust is the essence of it. Once you start building trust with someone, you can be sure they’ll be willing to help you when you’re in need. The other side of this is when you can help others. This way you can form lasting and meaningful bonds with people.
Gaining New Perspectives
When you meet new people, step out of your comfort zone and let others in, you discover new and fresh perspectives on everyday things. Say you have an idea of how a corporation functions. You think it’s about keeping long hours, not getting paid enough or engaging in office politics. But when you meet someone who’s working for a multinational, you realize that’s not true. You may discover a corporation is fast-paced and offers enriching experiences, lasting relationships and a world of learnings. We can fall into the habit of trusting our own voice to the extent where we block everyone else out. But getting out there makes you realize that others have opinions and experiences you can learn from as well.
Opening Doors To Better Opportunities
A professional network will help you find new and better opportunities for your career. You’ll build relationships with contributors, consultants and even founders. Someone somewhere may offer you your dream job or a dream project that you’ve always wanted. Building a professional network will help you get your foot in the door. If you’re attending an event, you can go in prepared by researching people who’ll be attending. You can connect with them more personally if you know who you’re communicating with.
Investing In Personal Development
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses helps you become a better professional. When you interact with others, you get an insight into what you’re good at—or not. Maybe you need to improve your communication skills. Once you identify this, you can take active measures to build your communication ability. A lot of things come to light when you’re in conversation with others. Personal development means building your skills and abilities, trusting yourself to hold a conversation and leaving a lasting impression on others.
Make Progress In Your Career
The advantages of networking highlight the career progression you ultimately experience. You get better opportunities, you build your brand and you expand your network. You have people you can trust and more importantly, others trust you to help them. Mutually beneficial relationships are helpful in a professional setting. Not only do you stand a better chance at getting an opportunity but you can also find ways to become better at what you do.
These are only some of the many benefits of networking. Always keep an eye out for networking opportunities. This doesn’t mean that you have to constantly attend professional events. But connecting with experts and contributors across industries can be an effective starting point. From preparing an impactful self-introduction to following up with a thank you email, learning the ropes of networking is one of the best career moves for a professional.
Expand Your Network With Harappa
Harappa’s Expanding Networks course will teach you how to build, sustain and expand your professional network. Learn about the Trust Equation that talks about how to maintain trustworthiness. Give a memorable self-introduction by structuring your elevator pitch. You’ll also learn how to run a health check on your network to maintain constructive relationships. Understand the advantages of networking to get the most out of your professional network.
Accomplish your professional goals by using your network to your advantage. Reach out to people and keep a record of everyone you engage with. You never know where you’ll find your next big opportunity!
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