Networking is no longer a choice – it is a necessity for success in any business or professional career. To many successful people, networking ‘comes naturally’. It is an unconscious activity. But it is wise for each of us to invest time in reflecting on our unique strengths as networkers. How can we improve? What can we offer others? How good are we at building relationships?
Unless we have built positive relationships, exploring possibilities is unlikely to be as effective as it could be. And the successful outcomes of our actions and projects often depend on the first two steps – building relationships and exploring possibilities.
Each year companies spend huge amounts of money on association memberships, functions and hospitality events. They rely heavily on networking for business generation, as well as for managing relationships with existing clients. In addition, networking is equally important internally. Often there is a high correlation between the quality of their networks and the success of ‘high potential’ employees.
I value the ‘network’ I have built up over the years, both from a business and personal perspective. And my current relationships reflect various ‘eras’ in my development and different formal and informal groups. And I continue to have my life enriched by wonderful people. For example, a fellow ‘executive coach’ in Johannesburg, Pat Roberts recently asked a provocative question of a group when running a session and she shared it with me: “Who in your environment could have the most influence on your career and what are you doing to build your relationship with that person?” She found that the issues and ideas that emerged from this discussion were amazing.
Reflect on these questions. Explore possibilities and then take action. Often we don’t realise how those in our networks not only enjoy helping us, but also sometimes consider it an honour to do so. But even more important, what can you do for them? How can you be of assistance?
There are many books on the topic of networking. Two that are recommended are:
For more information on our ‘Networking Tactics’ workshops, or for a speaker on the topic of networking, please contact Brenda on +27 82 4993311 or +27 33 3425432 – email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.strategy-leadership.com