So we’ve recently spoken about How To Network, but what’s the point? Is there really any benefit. I’m not just going to tell you – Yes! Instead I’m going to list what I believe to be the four key benefits of networking. Whether you’re an intern, a CEO, a company director… Everyone should be networking!
While opportunities may only be one point in my list of benefits of networking, it could in fact be broken down to three or four.
I’m talking career opportunities – Information in regards to a new position opening up, someone retiring, looking for someone with particular skills.
I’m talking business opportunities – At IBM I was an account manager. I’d network with existing and potential clients to see how we can create new fulfilment opportunities. In turn this would help our client, generate income for the business and demonstrate that I can lead generate.
The important to think to remember is that with the amount of opportunities that come your way you’ll be unable to capitalize on them all. Not all of them will be the right fit, some might not suit you personally but perhaps someone you’ve previously networked with (a business partner or colleague etc.)
Don’t be afraid to pass on or share opportunities. This will demonstrate you as a key networker (someone who knows a number of influential people) and you can expect to receive information about potential opportunities from the people you share opportunities with… – Just be sure to ask the person you’re speaking with first. Some opportunities can be confidential or private.
Having people in your network to talk to also provides you with the opportunity to gain advice. This could be advice on how to use a particular piece of software, how to deal with a particular client etc.
Think of networking as a giant Google tailored specifically to your industry, company and / or situation. All of this information would be much harder – if not impossible to get a hold of if you didn’t network.
3. Increased Confidence
I remember when I first started networking. It was my introductory work with a number of other IBM students. I was nervous – and rightly so. I didn’t feel comfortable, social awkward I’d feel like I didn’t belong.
However, by networking regularly my confidence increased. Before long I was networking with senior clients and members of staff both inside and outside of my department.
This increased confidence is really important as you’re career development is going to be highly dependent on talking to the right people and making those all important connections.
Probably one you didn’t expect on this list – Friendship. One of the very true benefits of networking is gaining friendships. You’re likely to spend 100’s of hours with your key networking associates so it’s no surprise that you’ll be come friends.