Networking is important in today’s corporate world not only from career growth perspective but also from upskilling perspective. It can help individuals find new jobs, help learn new skills and develop leadership skills by interacting with their network. Someone has rightly said that- Your network is your networth. Rather than looking at networking as solely transactional, one needs to emphasize on the significance of fostering genuine connections, which facilitate knowledge exchange.

Here are a few comprehensive guidelines for professionals aiming to navigate the world of professional networking effectively.

  1. Networking can be about helping people: Offer your knowledge, skills, advice, or expertise to other people. For example, if you’re a great proofreader, you can offer to help copyedit a connection’s resume and cover letter. 
  2. There is more to networking than ‘small talk’: People prefer intimate conversations, even if they’re meeting you for the first time. Next time try framing questions which can help you understand more about a person. For example, instead of approaching by saying “What do you do?”, you can try “What do you think is the most valuable part of your work — to yourself and others? What problems do you want to help others solve? What aspects of your work do you enjoy most and why? What do you enjoy least and why?”

Central to the guide are several key pointers:

  1. Reconnecting with Dormant Ties: Professionals need to rekindle relationships with past acquaintances, recognizing the potential for valuable advice and opportunities within these connections.
  2. Offering Help and Meaningful Conversations: One needs to provide assistance and engaging in substantive discussions, steering away from superficial small talk to establish deeper connections.
  3. Lateral and Vertical Connections: Professional needs to build relationships across all levels within organizations and beyond, highlighting the benefits of mentorship, advocacy, and access to diverse opportunities.
  4. Showcasing Value and Clarity in Outreach: The person needs to showcase unique skills and intentions clearly when initiating contact with new connections, ensuring mutual understanding and engagement.
  5. Inclusivity in Networking: There is inherent strength in individuals from diverse backgrounds, promoting recognition and utilization of these assets in networking contexts

In conclusion, the writer positions networking as a skill that can be cultivated over time, urging professionals to approach it as a journey of personal growth and genuine relationship-building. By embracing these insights, individuals can navigate networking with purpose and authenticity. They can leverage their connections for career advancement and mutual benefit. Professionals can harness the power of networking to expand their horizons, foster collaboration, and create opportunities for both personal and professional development.

This article has been referenced for HBR. To read the complete article click here

About High Potential Career Planning:

An initiative of ACH, High Potential Career Planning (HPCP) is established with a mission to mentor professionals in their search for a career development and growth. We provide personalized mentorship programs, which can help individuals have a fulfilling career.

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