It is undeniable that our society has become highly competitive and that advertisements, emails and special offers are continuously bombarding us and influencing people to buy a certain product or to do not trust in a determined brand. In this ambitious environment, personal relationships will enable you and your firm to be outstanding. The reason why networking is a key factor is because “Relationships are the catalyst for success. People do business with those they like and trust” as stated in the webpage of Strategic Business Network.
In today’s post it will be explained the benefits of networking and many interesting rules to build a successful networking system.
First of all, it is important to provide a definition of what is meant by networking. Tom Farley, the current President of the New York Stock Exchange, answers that networking “is about collecting relationships with interesting or influential people irrespective of the immediate benefit of these relationships” (2015). The main aim of networking is to create a network of proffesional people with whom one can share information or help each other.
It has been proved that this strategy is really helpful for one’s career. In fact, and according to The Career Key, 65% to 80% of job offers are obtained through networking. Nowadays, many job offers are not advertised, therefore, it is crucial to known somebody who can introduce you to your “future” employer or the Human Resources Manager who will be in charge of the recruitment process for example.
The aforementioned Tom Farley can serve to exemplify that with networking it is easier to access the hidden job market. Indeed, his current position is the result of a proffesional relationship that started with a business meeting. He made the sensible decision to stay in touch with Jeff Sprecher, the President of the NYSE in 2001. In Farley’s own words “If I had not spent five years after that first Atlanta meeting staying in touch with Jeff, through emails and phone calls, there is no way he would have considered me for president” (2015). This proves that building a strong network is essential and he also provides some guidance to develop and maintain contributory relationships:
- Do not put limits to network. It does not matter the industry where the contact person come from, however, one should take into consideration if they are both interesting and influential. It is highly recommendable to have a broad range of networks, positions and geographies. Sometimes they can be a connector to a more powerful person, consequently, do not discriminate.
- Do your homework. When you have a planned business meeting, phone call or any other relevant event, one should be prepared with some areas of common interest. This means to find out what interests the other person in order to break the ice.
- Do not ask for advantages or anything in return. In the words of Farley, “Networking is not transactional, but too often it’s approached in such a way. Play the long game and build the network for the sake of building the network” (2015). It is better not to have any expectations or recompense in mind, however, your peer will surely remember this generous and good-natured amount of help in the foreseeable future.
- Dream big and aim high. It is probable to miss possibilities to network because one feels frightened with those people who have a senior position. Nevertheless, there is nothing to lose and a lot to win. Risk taking can sometimes lead to success, therefore, it is better to aim high; the worst that somebody can do is only to ignore you.
Georgina Stamp claims that every person has an important network of contacts, however, most people is not conscious of this. One’s network may be consisted of friends, colleagues, peers and family. Every one of them is not going to be appropriate to achieve our main goal, but sure that there is potential. It is important to keep in mind the idea that our network is larger than expected and has people that can be promising when the time arrives.
On the other hand, if a great number of your contacts are helpless, it is a must to expand this social network by making an appearance at events and meethings related to specific fields of business or industries. A great method of establishing a powerful network of contacts is by attending business fairs which are sponsored by trade associations. As Stamp affirms “With each person you meet at a fair, ask for contact details, references and referrals. Carry out research beforehand of companies that you’d like to speak to, and try to spend time to get to know their attendees” because these contacts will probably be in the event also for broadening their network.
Nowadays, it is possible to obtain professional contacts by social networking sites as well. LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook may be suitable for your purpose since they enable to contact with employers that one has little opportunity to speak with in person. Naturally, making a strong impression online can be as hard as making it in person. The Taylor & Francis international company informs that in 50 milliseconds are enough to make a first impression of those who are viewing your profile, therefore, try to avoid unsuitable comments on your profile or wall.
Finally, it is relevant to connect with your network regularly and to utilize one’s acquaintances. In the words of Stamp it is advisable to “Make a list of priorities and which of your contacts would make the best reference for each priority. How many of your contacts have jobs in the field you’re targeting?”. This means that you should know how to use your personal network efficiently and know who can provide you help -directly or indirectly. Owing to the afforementioned reasons, it becomes clear that networking consists on creating reciprocally beneficial connections that promote influence growth.
I would like to end this post with an accurate quote from Adam Small.
NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!
# Career Cast. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.careercast.com/career-news/underestimated-importance-personal-networking
# Farley, T. (2015, July 7). NYSE President: I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/07/07/tom-farley-networking-tips/
# Strategic Business Network. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.strategicbusinessnetwork.com/about/importance
# The Career Key. (n. d.). Retrieved from https://www.careerkey.org/choose-a-career/networking.html#.VpuqVfnhDIV