Whether you are trying to enhance your business or bolster your professional status, optimizing your network will always be a vital role for your professional success. To do this, you have to understand that networking is very much a behind the scenes type of task. While you of course want to produce quality work at your office, connecting with people throughout a variety of businesses and departments will help establish the resources you need to thrive in the future.
Let’s begin by understand the concept of networking and what it can do for you professionally. When we talk about networking, especially within the workplace, we are talking about building relationships, sharing information, and leveraging sources of support. Oftentimes, people make the mistake of playing it safe and staying within their comfort zone bubble. While it can be intimidating to go beyond your comfort zone, you have to comprehending the importance of building your contacts. It is these individuals who can make the difference in getting you that much closer to your personal and professional goals.
So how do you do this?
There are a variety of ways to go about expanding your network. The most important thing you need to know is that you have to go into each meeting with the mentality of building and fostering a strong and viable relationship, regardless of their title. This type of outlook and mindset will help calm those jitters so that you can establish a rich and organic conversation. Below, I have provided some tips that highlight the best way to network yourself or your business in the most optimal manner.
Utilize your Immediate Resources
Start off by connecting within your company and organizations. This is what we call easy wins. Having these automatic channels will make those first few interactions smooth and seamless. As much as you can talk about the day-to-day operations of your workplace, you also want to go into that conversation with a goal in mind, especially if you are talking to an administrator or a partner. As you talk to them, make sure they have a deeper understanding of your objectives and goals for the company and for the future. In addition, discuss how you can aid and support them for future projects so that you can stay on their radar.
Connect with a Leader or Mentor who Shares your Goals
For many people, building a network starts with an overall end-goal. Some people do this to push their careers in a specific direction. Others do it for graduate school goals. Whatever is the case, try and utilize your own goals and ideas by connect with coworkers who share the same interest. Better yet, try and connect with those who have already succeeded with your career path. Their advice and insight of how to achieve your goal can help you alter or optimize your plans for the future. To do this effectively, start by simply listening. Pick their brains about how they got there and what they had to do to get to that particular position. Then try and internalize what steps you have made and what you can change to learn from their experience. If you can, try and utilize this person as a long-term resource. Many people in the professional field call them mentors. See if they have the time to help shape you in reaching your personal and professional goals.
Utilize your Alumni Network
Alumni chapters are a great platform in expanding your network outside of your own company. While some members may come from different fields and majors, try and utilize that group to its fullest. Engage with people you do not normally interact with. Share your interest, work profession, and goals. Who knows, they may have a friend or a coworker that can help you get to that next level.
Attend Professional Events
Because of how vital networking is to everyone’s career, you can oftentimes find various professional hosting events or happy hour sessions close to your location. To find them, start by searching online either through Google’s search results or through the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Similar to the information mentioned above, go into each even with your professional goals in mind. At the same time, do not be too serious. These events are more for you to mingle and converse. If you happen to find the right connection, be sure to provide them with a business card or your personal information.