The knack to intermingle socialize and harmonies with people is one of the most crucial life-skills possessed by human beings. If you have the dynamism to step into any gathering and initiate a tete with anyone, you surely are bound to lend a charge of positivity to your knowledge, understanding and familiarity. When we talk of networking, it implies socializing with some objective. There are some people who feel that networking manifests \ self-aggrandizement and self-glorification or getting anything done from people. The fact is that networking is all about establishing links and developing influences with people.
If your networking is effectual, you will be able to kill several birds with one stone. The following distinct advantages will accrue to you because of the networking that you affect:
- You will be able to participate in and enjoy maximum happenings and events.
- Some networked people can eventually become very close friends, trusted colleagues and ‘guides’ and even sources of information related to job openings and job prospects.
- Ability to exert influence, if required through bigwigs and key players.
- You will be aware and well-informed about whatever is happening in your industry and professional field and will be able to identify new opportunities and prospects for career advancement.
- You will gain prominence and standing when you interact with people on the same wave length as you.
Whenever you are required to attend professional events or conferences on behalf of your company, you should go well prepared to meet people. Few guidelines and norms that you should always adhere to are:
The first and foremost thing is to acknowledge the invitation extended to you. Just in case you are unable to attend, timely intimation regretting your inability to attend should be communicated to the organizers.
You must carry with you adequate number of business cards and exchange them with people. Whenever you are required to introduce yourself, you must do so with poise and self-assurance. While wishing others, you must maintain eye contact and do so with a beam.
You must make certain that when you shake hands, you do not violate established norms, particularly when the other person is a lady. There will be many who would be attending for the first time; they will be nervous. You should identify such people and help them to come out of their shell.
Do not let your cell phone come in between you and others. Your effort should be to ensure that when you are engaged in a conversation, the phone should not disturb it and for that, it should be put on a vibration mode or on a very low volume. The conversations that you engage in should be valuable and other people should stand to gain. It is essential that your focus should be on others so that they feel as if they are key people. During the course of the conversation, if a follow-up meeting is necessitated, you should not back out.
Career management calls for a premeditated and deliberate consideration of the need to network. You have to plan for this important activity the planning can be affected if you query yourself on the following issues:
- The necessity to and prompting factors for networking and the rationale behind the whole process and objectives behind it.
- The category of people with whom contact is required to be established as also identification of different platforms and happenings that warrant patronization by you towards the objectives set by you. Individuals with whom you intend to network should be carefully selected.
- Preparations required to be conducted in advance so that you meet networking success. Like all other plans, your networking plans would also need to be supervised therefore, the arrangements that you will put in place for accomplishing your objectives will have to be decided in advance.
In order to establish an efficient network, the initiative has to come from you. While much would be contingent on your individual skills, some ideas to go ahead are:
Take membership of special interest groups & professional clubs: There are several organizations that have specific focus areas and participation in their activities is own-time effort. You must take membership of such groups because doing so will bring you acclaim and boost your integrity in the eyes of others. There are many profession clubs that engage in activities related to their profession. You must participate in all activities, including attending conferences, seminars and workshops. Whatever roles and responsibilities that you discharge during the course of being a member of such clubs and groups, a record of the same should be maintained by you and highlighted in your resume accordingly
Bea noticeable figure in your company & network with different stakeholders: You should never regard your current team as your permanent affiliation. Your company could well undergo a reorganization and people could be retrenched. You will stand a good chance to be retained only if people know who you are. They will know you only if you make efforts to gain prominence. And prominence will be possible only if you make your individual and team accomplishments known to people outside your team or department. There are chances that you may stop pulling on well with your boss or he may just leave. If that be so, you simply cannot rely on your immediate boss as a reference. Therefore, it is essential that you build relationships with people who when required, will speak in your favor. People higher up in the pecking order or serving in other departments and even selected customers are good choices in this context. You must also maintain good liaison with your seniors who have left for evident reasons.
Make useful contributions in all spheres of activity: You may be required to attend in-house conferences and seminars. Quite a few of such events serve no purpose because they are organized disappointingly. But that does not mean that you should avoid attending them.
By simply being in attendance and making few but useful contributions will stand you in good stead. You will gain attention and as a result of which, distinguish ability also. There could be many administrative responsibilities that need to be shared. While undertaking such additional tasks, you should Endeavour to add value and build a reputation for yourself so that you are seen as a trustworthy person. It is through such links that you will be able to build a great standing for yourself.
Networking skills are important attributes and facilitate success. Everything is not about what you know, but also who you know. Possession of good networking abilities is not indicated by a stack of visiting cards that you have. It is the relationship with people that matters and which, will stand you in good stead at all times in your career.