Networking Leads to a Network of Opportunities!
In today's fast-paced and competitive business world, networking is crucial to your professional and personal growth. You may be wondering, "why is networking so important?" Well, one good reason is that according to recent studies by HubSpot, 85% of career opportunities are filled through business networks.
Networking leads are the lifeblood of your career. Each networking lead presents an opportunity to expand your knowledge base, connect with new and existing people, and open doors for referrals. No matter what stage of your career you are in, there is always someone new to meet, someone to see again or common bonds to discover.
Networking opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. The key is to make yourself visible and approachable. To maximise your exposure to people you want to connect with, go in prepared, get there early, and introduce yourself to the host.
Where to Source Networking Leads:
Networking opportunities exist everywhere you go. You can network down the corridor, at the airport, and basically every time you engage with others. To expand your existing network, consider the organisations that provide you with the most networking opportunities. There’s more out there than you think!
Remember, wherever you network, 70% of communication is non-verbal, meaning your body language will speak for you before you open your mouth. This makes it so important to present yourself in a professional way and if needed, invest some time in learning networking techniques that will work for you.
Here are some examples of events that offer opportunities for building networking leads:
1. Internal Networking
Internal networking is a critical aspect of building a successful career within an organisation.
By connecting with colleagues from different departments, having water cooler chats, attending morning teas, you can gain a broader understanding of the workings of the organisation, build alliances, and help grow your reputation.
2. Seminars and Conferences
Seminars and conferences are fantastic opportunities to learn new skills while meeting other professionals. Select events that feature people from a wide array of locations, with topics relevant to your personal and professional goals. Attending these events with colleagues can help you bond and give you the chance to approach other people to create valuable networks (just don’t stick to each other).
Meetup events provide a more social environment to network. They are an excellent way of meeting new people as the casual atmosphere makes it easier to mingle.
4. Informational Briefings
Hosting or attending informational briefings is a great way to get more comfortable with networking in a smaller environment. Practicing positive body language and engaging in small talk at informal events will prepare you for more formal networking opportunities.
5. Professional Associations
Professional associations are great resources for like-minded professionals to swap ideas and information in a structured setting. Many are industry-specific, but some cater to niches such as diversity or sustainability.
6. Community Clubs
Community clubs provide endless opportunities to meet others and learn more about local stakeholders. These clubs are particularly important because they allow you to connect with individuals you may not have met otherwise, and forge bonds based on common interests that keep you connected beyond the workspace.
7. Social Media
Social media networks, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, are powerful tools to connect (and most importantly stay connected) with professionals all around the world.
As you have hopefully seen, genuine networking leads to a network of opportunities with a recent survey by Deloitte finding that 71% of professionals believe that networking is essential to career success.
Networking is NOT about attending lots of events and handing out business cards; it's about building genuine connections with people who share your interests and goals. By adding regular networking into your calendar, you will collaborate, knowledge share and connect more broadly to help you in your business/ career.
Julia Palmer a respected Relational Strategist and Chief Executive of Relatus, helping you develop your relational capabilities to give you the human advantage.