How to get the most out of networking
Networking is a process that exposes you to new people, new ideas, and new ways of looking at things. Importantly, it can increase your visibility and advance your career prospects. But the creation of this structure of valuable personal interrelationships won’t just happen. You have to develop this network of organisational contacts for yourself - and here’s how you can do so...
1. Be aware of the benefits of networking.
Although networking can be a very time-consuming activity, its benefits can be very rewarding to you professionally. It can:
- help you learn from an increasing range of contacts with whom you can share ideas, advice, and strategies.
- provide you with referrals for a variety of needs. A good network will always know somebody who can help you.
- supply you with a sounding board to test your ideas, provide feedback, let off steam, or discuss problems.
- promote your career as you become known, aware, and involved.
- lessen your professional isolation, particularly if your organisation is located in a remote area.
- be enjoyable by giving you the chance to meet new colleagues, socialise, and expand your professional horizons.
2. Work to develop areas of personal expertise.
Networking presumes that members have competence and expertise, so develop your own skills and knowledge. Become a recognised authority on something, someone worth getting to know, so that you can become a vital member of the network.
3. Analyse your current network of contacts.
Examine your current network’s viability. Check your address book, business cards, correspondence files, professional association contacts, and phone index. Create an up-to-date, flexible card index or computer data-base on which to build.
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