In this blog, we will focus on an important and increasingly used component in the business realm: networking, as a tool to develop our professional network and optimize its benefits in order to pursue the career of our dreams. You have surely heard often how, at times – in addition to the skills acquired – it is important WHO we know. Indeed, networking can help everyone, including you.
What does networking actually do for you?
- Through the exchange with like-minded people, you will receive valuable inspiration, information, and ideas for your own job
- You will find partners for joint projects and cooperation
- You give support to others – and receive some yourself
- You may come closer to your dream job or a desired position in the company
Continue reading to learn how to network cleverly and take your career to the next level.
This definitely pays off when it comes to networking! If you want to build up a professional network, first think about a strategy, be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve by building a network?
- Which valuable contacts already exist and how can I develop them further?
- What new contacts would also be useful and how do I get them?
- How can I describe myself and my work in a few clear words?
Online or offline? It’s the mix that counts
Networking works both online and offline. Which type of networking you prefer is always a matter of type. The advantage of our digital age is clearly the networking via the internet. Career platforms such as LinkedIn enable you to network with others quickly and easily. Online networking is a good alternative, especially for more introverted networkers who are reluctant to approach complete strangers. However, make sure that you build up target-oriented contacts.
Another advantage of the career platforms is that you can find out about industry-specific events and conventions here. Exciting collaborations can result, and important contacts can be made – often for later collaboration. Moreover, you can educate yourself at these events and find out about new strategies while connecting with others. A real win-win situation.
Less is more
This also applies to networking. Instead of collecting as many contacts as possible, it makes more sense to concentrate on a few, but suitable ones. If you want to build up a good professional network, then make sure that your contacts are relevant to you. This is the only way you can maintain your contacts. Five hundred or more people in your contact list may look impressive at first glance. But do you really keep in touch with everyone on a regular basis? Probably not. Fewer contacts, on the other hand, are easier to maintain in the long term.
Selfishness? No thank you.
Always be nice to everyone, because the intern could be your boss tomorrow. Selfishness has no place in successful networking. If you want to be successful, then you should not only think of yourself but also of others. Helpfulness among colleagues and general collegiality are the cornerstones of this.
Never be ungrateful: If someone helps you significantly, then you should try to return the favor when the opportunity arises. One hand washes the other, which applies in professional as well as in private life.
Be confident and work on your body language
Your body language and facial expressions are fundamental, work on them to appear confident. You should not pretend, but always remain yourself. Authenticity is important. After all, people want to get to know YOU in order to work with YOU.
One trick, for example, is mirroring the other person’s body language. Scientific studies show that people mirror the behavior of others if they find them sympathetic. So, it unconsciously helps to break down reservations in the other person. Especially in the getting-to-know-you phase, when the person you are talking to is not yet able to assess you. Mirroring body language can help you gain trust.
A good networker gives the person he or she is talking to the space, being open and interested, and also freely gives good advice without speculating on something in return.
Maintain your contacts
Building a network is only worthwhile if you maintain your contacts over the long term. This is the same as with friendships. You have to do something to keep them going. Go to lunch regularly with colleagues and interesting contacts, take part in regular get-togethers and discussion rounds and always be friendly to people you already know at events.
It is also good manners to congratulate on birthdays, Christmas, and milestones such as marriage. If you organize an event yourself, you should always approach your contacts and let them participate – not only as visitors but maybe even as experts and speakers.
In any case, make sure to keep in touch and keep reminding yourself. You should regularly share interesting events, articles, or updates in the online career networks. As a result, potential new contacts will also see your presence and become aware of you and your good work.
Expand your network
Our Equals Community is the perfect place to expand your network and meet other like-minded women* both in and out of your field. We have a variety of memberships available, click here to read more about them!