What is networking?
Networking is the action of working your network of contacts , exchanging relevant information based on collaboration and mutual help. What is networking in business?
This action includes different activities aimed at careers and business, through the maintenance of productive interpersonal relationships.
Network or networking?
The two terms come from English and have similar meanings, but there is a difference.
Network is the word used to describe a network, that is, a group of connected people – in this case, linked by professional interests.
The term networking, on the other hand, designates a network work, carried out from movements or actions of expansion, maintenance and improvement.
What is it for?
Making networking serves to build and strengthen relationships, helping and getting support for a number of demands.
After all, the network has information and access that can help you find job openings, get a promotion, contact and convince investors and potential customers.
Why is networking important?
Who is not seen is not remembered.
This maxim makes perfect sense in many situations, including the job market.
In Internet times, it only takes a few clicks to connect with a universe of professionals and companies, so it is necessary to do something different and stand out.
Investing in networking is a smart solution in this context, as it attracts attention without putting professionalism aside. What is networking in business?
Importance and power of the social network
Scheduling a happy hour, exchanging messages or audios in apps may seem superfluous for a career, but that’s not quite the case.
Despite working for companies, people relate to people and, therefore, those who bet on networking come out ahead in the corporate environment.
To get an idea, a survey released by The Adler Group consultancy states that 85% of job opportunities are filled through referrals from the network of contacts.
What are the benefits of networking?
There are numerous advantages of cultivating and investing in your professional network, whether as a worker or entrepreneur.
Below, we list the main ones.
for your career
- Professional growth opportunities
- Greater access to job vacancies
- Increases the possibilities of meeting people of interest
- Expansion of knowledge and professional improvement
- Support for answering questions
- Greater prominence among colleagues in your area and others
- Visibility with leaders and professionals working in recruitment
- It facilitates building a good reputation in the market. What is networking in business?
for your business
- Raises the visibility of companies and brands
- Gives access to business opportunities, partnerships and customers
- Facilitates the recruitment of professionals aligned with the company’s mission and values
- Brings the entrepreneur closer to those who have implemented successful cases, enabling the benchmark to improve business performance
- Increases chances of scaling and expanding the enterprise
- Keeps the entrepreneur well informed about his market.
How to network?
The first step in networking is to see the relevance of these actions, which can make a difference for you and your contacts.
Next, identify interesting people, who can be current and former colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and even family members who can add value to your network.
Also pay attention to your connections on social networks dedicated to the professional world, such as LinkedIn.
Below, we comment on other essential steps for the success of your strategy.
Participate in corporate events
Whether in person or online, corporate events or those focused on your area of expertise are great sources of good contacts for your network.
Therefore, select the meetings that interest you and attend, if possible, taking your business cards to facilitate future conversations. What is networking in business?
Activate your contacts
It’s no use leaving an event with several business cards or new contacts on your smartphone, if not to continue the conversations.
You can keep an updated list with their information and send periodic messages via cell phone, email and/or social networks to maintain some proximity.
Just be careful not to overdo it and fill your network’s inbox every week.
Keep in mind that some individuals will become close, while others will only speak to you during meetings or events.
ask the right questions
In the dynamics of networking, it is natural – and even expected – to ask people more experienced than you for help.
However, most of them will have a hectic routine, which requires agility in solving problems.
So, if you have any questions or demands, be cordial, but also direct when asking for help.
Keep your network always informed
In addition to you, most professionals in your network will also be willing to help and share useful information.
However, they won’t be able to provide any support if they don’t know what’s new in their career or business.
Therefore, publicize your current status, sharing courses you are taking, new projects, seeking replacement in the market, etc. What is networking in business?
If you know of opportunities relevant to your network, share them so that others can be helped.
How to maintain assertive and efficient communication?
This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to networking, as the strategy will only have positive effects if communication is adequate.
This implies keeping a professional tone even if you are posting on social media.
This is not to say that you always need to be serious or formal, but rather respectful and cordial when talking to your contacts.
See below for more insights to get your communication right.
As we explained at the beginning of this article, networking is based on collaboration, on exchange relationships in which everyone wins.
So, be prepared to share not only new work and business opportunities , but also your knowledge when accessed by someone in your network.
Celebrate corporate victories
Good results in projects, completed courses and even differentiated experiences are reason for celebration.
At these times, include one or more people from your network in the celebrations, showing how their support contributed to your success.
Also comment on the tools and methodologies that have led you to this point, as they can serve as inspiration for your contacts.
thank you for the support
Gratitude is a highly valued characteristic these days, mainly because it strengthens the motivation of those who propose to help. What is networking in business?
So, when achieving a relevant achievement or overcoming an obstacle, always give thanks to those who have been by your side on this journey.
Don’t just stay in the virtual world
Above, we suggest ways to contact you to activate your network, however, you should not restrict yourself to digital media.
Despite its importance, messages via WhatsApp, inbox or email do not have the same impact as an in-person interaction, do you agree?
Even when it is not possible to schedule coffee with members of your network, try to strengthen the relationship through a phone call, for example, or a video call.
Network strategies to grow your career
In this topic, we bring together three right strategies for those who want to advance in their professional life.
Have a ready (and good) answer to the question, “What are you currently doing?”
After all, curling up or getting thoughtful can give the impression that you are stagnant and have no career plan .
It’s worth thinking about this matter in advance to come up with an honest and clear answer that reveals your intention to grow.
Even if you’re unemployed, you can talk about outplacement seeking , skills enhancement, and side projects, including volunteer work.
Have a networking partner
By identifying a colleague or acquaintance with common interests, you can exchange recommendations as well as attend industry events together.
Thus, both benefit from referrals without needing to promote themselves, in addition to gaining company in the meetings.
This is a good way to disseminate quality information and show your skills.
Check which subjects interest your network and followers and contribute, giving your opinion or sharing relevant content.
Tips to keep your network warm
Now that you know how to connect and communicate effectively, check out networking tips to get your first conversation going:
- Keep in touch periodically, for example once a month
- Form groups or broadcast lists on WhatsApp to share information
- Comment on relevant topics on your social networks
- Make room in your calendar for meeting in person and exchanging messages.
Tips for Networking Being Shy or Introverted
In these cases, specialists recommend investing in cold ties – those people with whom we had little contact, such as former schoolmates, college students or who were our partners in projects.
So says the consultant and author of the book “Eliminating the Work of Networking”, Karen Wickre:
“Sending a few short messages saying hello or sharing stories with some contacts brings big rewards and low risk – even for the shyest person.”