Do you make strategic connections when you network?

We all know how crucial networking is in today’s corporate world. However, how many of us truly understand how to network effectively? The truth is that almost none of us do. The majority of people equate networking with embarrassing attempts to strike up a conversation with coworkers at a dinner party or with competitors at a conference. Many of us avoid the whole process of networking because we believe we aren’t good at it, perhaps as a result of negative experiences.

However, this viewpoint on networking is incorrect. The book Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World, by writers Anne Baber, Lynne Waymon, Andre Alphonso, and Jim Wylde, explains why. The skills and information you’ll gain from reading the book will help you become a strategic networker.

Unfortunately, many people believe that networking is either unneeded or impossible because of their employment or personalities. They claim, “I’m a doctor, I don’t need to network!” “I’m an introvert,” for example. Networking isn’t something I’m good at.” This type of passive thinking has long since passed its sell-by date. Within our changing environment, the concept of networking has evolved over time.

The modern workplace is getting more collaborative. Today’s business is far less about defending your ideas or maintaining your hard-won place in the firm hierarchy, and much more about spreading new tactics and collaborating with your coworkers, no matter how far up the totem pole they may be.

Networking, or the process of forming relationships that are beneficial to an individual’s or an organization’s development, is critical in this type of collaborative setting.

We now have access to people from all over the world with talents and knowledge that complement our own. Whatever you do for a living, there’s a good possibility that there’s someone out there with abilities that you might use. So, if you’re a doctor, you might look for someone who has expertise running a business and can assist you in expanding your practice.

Everyone has a role to play in this networked society; anyone can establish a networker persona, allowing him to gain the many benefits of an interconnected environment. Introverts, for example, may believe that their characteristics restrict their networking ability. They may, however, be skilled planners and listeners, two traits that are essential for networking.

In the modern office, networking has undeniable advantages. The first step to being a networker is simple and involves cultivating the correct mindset. All you have to do is add “+ networker” to the end of your job title, regardless of what it is. So you’re no longer just a “accountant” or “doctor,” but a “doctor plus networker” or “accountant plus networker.”

When you realize that networking is a necessary component of your job, you can approach it strategically, just as you would any other aspect of your job. These pointers will assist you in becoming a more strategic networker.

First and foremost, be proactive. Don’t sit around waiting for things to happen to you if you want to be the finest networker. You must take action! Attend conferences, join groups of like-minded individuals, and seek out partnerships that will benefit you and your employer.

A partner in an architectural firm specializing in hospital design, for example, may join the American Institute of Architects or a hospital managers’ organization. She’ll certainly find plenty of prospective contacts at either group who can help her expand and develop her business.

Another method to be proactive is to consider what your personal network can do for your company on a regular basis. Inquire with your supervisor whether the company requires assistance with anything; the appropriate person for the job may already be a member of your personal network! If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Finally, strategic networkers are continually on the lookout for opportunities to meet new people. Chance encounters will lead to some of the most valuable connections you will ever make. It could be the CEO in the corridor or a friend of a friend in the elevator. Establish sure you’re prepared for them by thinking about what you’ll say, how you’ll characterize your profession, and what sorts of connections you want to make.

So, who exactly should be a part of your network? Who are your coworkers? People who work in the same field? What about your relatives and friends? Any or all of these could be the case! Everyone’s network, in reality, is made up of four nets. Everyone you work with on a daily basis, including your coworkers, is part of the WorkNet. Your OrgNet may include folks from your company’s various divisions and departments, such as friends in finance or IT.

Professional relationships outside of your company are included in the ProNet. These could be previous clients and coworkers, or even colleagues from the national engineers’ association. Finally, your LifeNet includes your family, friends, and even those with whom you play squash.

Consider how strong your ties are in each of these networks. They’re all covered by a good networker. However, simply knowing persons who fit into each of these categories isn’t enough. You must build trusted relationships with the people in your network in order to build a powerful network.

Character is simple to demonstrate: simply be honest, open, and loyal to show people that you exemplify the attributes of a trustworthy person. Even the most trustworthy individual won’t be trusted if he can’t do the task – you need to demonstrate that you’re capable of doing the work. Show them your previous achievements and demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to accomplish your job properly.

If you work as an HR manager, for example, demonstrate your trustworthiness by demonstrating that you are well-organized and a good listener. But, no matter what, keep in mind that trust takes time to develop. Keep in mind that it takes an average of six to eight interactions to create trust with a new contact, so be persistent.

You may discover that in order to expand your network, you’ll need to attend a variety of events related to your field. However, simply showing up isn’t enough. You must meet and speak with individuals in order to develop trusting relationships.

You’ll be more equipped to go through the rituals of effective networking if you improve your social skills. Some individuals may find this intimidating, so here are a few pointers to help you get started. Make a point of learning people’s names and ensuring that they remember yours. Recite your name to anyone you meet for the first time. “I’m Thomas, Thomas Smith,” for example. You should also repeat her first name to help you remember it: “It’s lovely to meet you, Louise.”

Joining groups with confidence is a good idea. When you first arrive at an event, it may appear that everyone has already formed cliques, but this is all in your head. Don’t think to yourself, “I need to break into this group.” Instead, consider this: “Without me, this group is incomplete.”

Finally, find a way to turn the chat with a new acquaintance into a larger networking opportunity for both you and her when it’s time to end it. Ask her to introduce you to someone in your profession when you’re ready to finish your conversation. Whether you’re an architect, for example, simply inquire if she knows anyone else at the event who works in the field. “John, I’d want to introduce you to Laura,” for example. She’s also a physician.”

Check out my related post: How to not be boring?

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