Networking is when you meet and connect with other people across the world of work that could, at any given point, support you with the development of your career or help you to generate business. It is also about giving back and providing these opportunities to others. Professional networking is all about sharing contacts and sharing best practice.
In the 21st Century networking can take place both online and through face to face meetings – but however it takes place, it can be vital to progressing your career. Networking is a skill that takes time to develop, and the best way to do this is to keep practising. I’m going to give a very brief insight to some key networking steps for beginners.
You will already have an existing network of people in your life, from family and friends, to teachers, mentors and sports coaches etc. Step 1 is to start writing these people down, a mind map format works well for many.
Next you need to think about; the experiences you are looking to gain, the career you might want, and the skills you are looking to develop etc. Once you’ve done this you can start to think about the types of people who could help you to achieve your goal. Step 2 is to write these people down and think if any have a connection to those in your existing network. If they do then Step 3 is to ask your existing contacts to introduce you to the person/people you really want to meet/talk to.
This is how networking begins. Once you’ve started to meet with new people you may also find that you can start giving back to your wider network by helping to connect other people. As you enter into the world of work you will start to add colleagues to your network too.
Having conversations with new people can be hard to begin with and many lack confidence when they first start out. Next month we will focus on how to start networking conversations and also how to use LinkedIn to develop your presence online.
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Tel: 020 7986 5494