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Networking at work

Networking at work
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Networking At Work, A business Network Is Often A Route Towards Successful Job Seeking. There used to be a time when networking always meant something...

A business network is often a route towards successful job seeking, or career development or even knowing the right information and closing successful customer negotiations. This is many a time a way to reach various decision makers through people whom one knows.

There used to be a time when networking always meant something to do with computers and networks... but, not any more. In today’s corporate world, the work networking means a lot more! It is synonymous to a set of business contacts that one develops within and/or outside an organization which can help the individual to grow in his/her career by providing a mutual benefit to the other person too.

A business network is often a route towards successful job seeking, or career development or even knowing the right information and closing successful customer negotiations. This is many a time a way to reach various decision makers through people whom one knows.

So, how does one develop a successful and useful business network? Below are a few tips and techniques that one can use for the same:

  • Ensure you have a short and appropriate email address and print out good business cards
  • Create a well crafted 30-second elevator pitch with which you can quickly introduce yourself and master it by recording and listening to yourself
  • Build profiles on social medial such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc and update them often as well as get others to recommend you and give out testimonials
  • Become active on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook groups etc and share information on your subject or area of expertise
  • Create an appropriate Facebook page
  • Join and attend conferences and events of various offline organizations & networks, chambers of commerce & business networks that exist in and outside your city
  • Volunteer your time and talents to worthy causes and organizations
  • Identify mentors and/or coaches and get advice and suggestions on key topics relevant to your career
  • Be active in your various alumni associations and in touch with individuals from earlier jobs

While in the process of networking, it is imperative that you follow certain behaviour and ensure not to venture into the following – which means, don’t

  • fear meeting the ‘big shots’ and important people
  • corner someone who is a ‘heavy-hitter’ with your personal life story at a social event and obligate them
  • hand out business cards to everyone
  • only talk to people you know and in your comfort zone
  • drink too much at evening events– obviously!
  • expect anything in return and network for the sake of building a relationship
  • dismiss anyone as irrelevant
  • take ‘NO’ personally and keep moving around

Ensure that you are and reflect the following in your conversations:

Be Genuine – Making a great first impression with artificiality only to be avoided later when our genuineness shows up does not help. Let people know who you are right from the start itself. Keep in mind that networking is about being authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.

Establish Goals – How many times do you see people wondering around aimlessly at a networking event? These people usually are not just there to pass the time, they are mostly clueless about how to proceed further. Don’t just try to “survive” it. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings and choose groups that will help you get what you are looking for.

Get Involved – Do not just join and be. Feel free to step in and volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and also to contribute to the fraternity that you are a part of. Make time in your schedule for these activities.

Ask Real Questions – Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This opens up the discussion and shows others that you are interested in them.

Position Yourself – Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them

  • Learn some tricks for remembering names. Remembering names is crucial.
  • Offer your expertise or the services of your company when the group needs it.
  • Offer it for free when you can.
  • Get to know what everyone in the group does.
  • Don’t ever recommend someone you know who does not do good work.

Ask for Help – Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, "How may I help you?" and no immediate answer comes to mind.

Follow up – Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and always attempt to continue to meet and stay in touch even outside of the network events

Most people tend to think only of the best known business networking clubs and websites, but business networking can be done virtually anywhere. One can find opportunities to network in many places today. From shopping malls and coffee shops to conferences, exhibitions and seminars, networking forums and training programs, societies and online social media websites, the world is almost at a shrunken size to one who is open, skilled and enthusiastic at networking.

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