Hello. In this video, we'd like to explain the purpose and benefits of networking, how it can help you, and why it's so important to plan how you approach networking. So let's get stuck in.
The general aim of networking is to meet like-minded people, share information, and seek out new opportunities. It can also help you build mutually beneficial connections with others, develop your career, or even grow your business. While some people might feel apprehensive about networking, it can actually be a lot of fun. And if you can try and feel relaxed when doing it, you'll create a better first impression, too. That's what this topic sets out to help you achieve.
Networking happens every day, either face to face or online. Face-to-face networking is any kind of networking situation which involves your physical presence in the company of others. Online networking can take place through communication on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
Networking can be informal or formal. Informal networking takes place all the time. It can include socialising with colleagues or engaging with social media. But you can also be proactive about seeking opportunities to network. This is what we mean by formal networking, where you set out with the intention of meeting new people or businesses in order to benefit your business or career. Formal networking includes attending industry events and taking part in structured networking sessions, at a conference, for example; meeting regularly with professionals in a business similar to your own; or being a member of a professional association with organised networking activities.
In today's digital world, online networking can be seen as equally as important, if not more so than face-to-face networking. With the growth of digital communication and social media platforms, online networking can be quicker, more effective, and further reaching than its face-to-face equivalent. Face-to-face networking is still very much alive, though, and remains an essential business and social skill. Let's now hear from some people that have benefited directly from effective networking.
For me, personally, what networking definitely has enabled me to do over the years is to establish a wide amount of contacts, not just within my area but across the organisation and within other organisations as well. With that, has come lasting working relationships, really. So there's been times when maybe I've encountered a problem and I've thought, hmm, maybe somebody in a different organisation might have come across that, and we've kind of maybe met up and kind of discussed different issues that way. It also, for me, has developed my own learning and development with that, by having a stronger network, where you've, obviously, shared different information, different techniques.
I work as a business psychologist. I run my own business. So for me, it's important to be networking to keep contact with various people that can work with me, but also to be in touch with a variety of clients as well. So networking's key to the way I go about doing business and building relationships.
I met my current line manager online. I was looking to change industry, stick to product marketing but in a different industry, namely software. So what I'd done was have a plan around where it is always I wanted to work, what kind of products I wanted to work on-- that sort of thing.
And then, I started to critique it down more and more. And from there, I identified different areas which I wanted to work in. So I went through LinkedIn and looked for industry leaders in those areas. And I started to contact them. And one of them, the person I work for now-- we just started to have conversations. He would lend me insights as to what he's working on, what kind of projects he's doing, and I would say to him, my kind of struggles in my industry right now what it is that I was looking for-- just that small rapport every now and then.
And from there, he actually had a job role come up, which was ideal for me. So we had a conversation about it-- really informal conversation-- and we met face to face as well. And he said to me, I wouldn't necessarily go for someone with your profile-- OK, you've got the experience, but not so much in the industry in which we work in. However, because we've had the rapport, we've had conversations over the period of time, it would be good, actually, if you went for it. And I myself can be an advocate for you because I've spoken to you, and we know what each other are like, our working styles. So on the back of that, I went for the role-- interviewed with him and other people in the company, and was successful in it.
These people each provide great examples of why successful networks are important to different people for different reasons. But effective networks don't appear overnight. Relationships built on trust take time to nurture. How much time you invest in your networks will determine how effective they are, and it is definitely the case that you get out what you put in. This is why it's so important to carefully plan how you approach networking-- because your time is valuable, and using it ineffectively won't benefit your business or career.
So to quickly recap then, networking is an important skill that helps you find, develop, and take control of new business connections or career opportunities. Both formal and informal networking can bring about mutually beneficial situations with others. And lastly, how you plan your networking strategy will have a big impact on how effective your network becomes.
- The purpose of networking
- The types of networking activities available
- Why you should carefully plan your networking approach