What is networking?
Networking is the process of establishing, developing, and maintaining long-term professional relationships with people you meet from different companies and environments. Whether you are attending a conference, ordering at the café, walking down the street, or riding a bus, you can make a good networking connection.
In these modern times, executive networking opportunities are always available around the world for those who are interested in creating contacts. Nowadays, gadgets and technology are used to intentionally interact and connect with different decision-makers.
With a great and helpful tool in our hands, we are no longer required to register for every in-person seminar or participate in professional associations’ gatherings to potentially meet new professionals.
If you focus to network more, the more chance that you will grow and learn to develop long-lasting business relationships. Having a strong network with other executives can help you gain more confidence in doing business and assurance that someone will be able to support and answer your questions in the long run.
What is the role of networking?
Expanding your contacts with different companies, nationalities, cultures, and leaders with different professions can give you a wider knowledge and understanding of life. Exchanging information, advice, expertise and, experiences is a key benefit in networking because it allows you to gain leadership value, networking tips, insights, or inspiration to others without even thinking of it.
Another role of networking is to build a character of leadership, open-mindedness and enhance yourself to be a better team player. Networking will also help you stay on top of the industry events and trends you are working with and other job markets.
What is networking in a career?
Your networking skills can be essential to your career success. Networking helps you to advance in your career or access other job opportunities.
If you are seeking a career, a network executive is very important. Someone within your contacts or the company they belong to might have a job opening, but before they officially release their job posting in the market they can consider you for the said role if your skills meet their requirements.
Admit it or not but the job market gets competitive every now and then, companies look for the best candidate that could give the great value of service to them.
Having an evolving and challenging market it is beneficial to have someone who knows what is happening in the industry. With this, you can gain more knowledge about the changes and greater chances of winning a new and great opportunity.
Networking involves trust, and you should give as much as you demand it. If you ask for someone to help you, make sure that you are able to balance it by giving back when they ask a favor from you.
If you really do not have anything to help your fellow executives, at the moment they ask you for something, just be fully open and truthful to tell it to them. Common ground in networking requires bold trust from both sides, so connect yourself with professionals whom you can trust and have the same ethics, thinking, and beliefs as you.
We are living in a more advanced world and era, so it is easier to network and find other executives with whom you can share your interests. With so many online resources, forums, and even social media access today, you can research, read or talk with other like-minded professionals and gain knowledge from their experiences, ideas, and expertise.
How do you create an executive network?
There are many ways to connect with different executives, leaders, and other companies. You can even create your own method and choose what will suit you best for your success. Nevertheless, here are some ideas and networking tips that can help you to successfully create connections.
Identify your Network
The first thing that you need to do to successfully create an executive level of connection is to identify who you want to be in your network. One example is your family. But this can include your relatives, organization leaders, and members, previous and current general manager, co-workers, financial advisors, doctors, or attorneys.
Anyone can be a potential network, so make sure that you have your list ready and take your chance to network. You never know who could be able to assist you in the future, so make an effort to network with people from other companies, industries, and professions.
Maintaining your relationships is beneficial and shall be done all year round. The better your relationships with your contacts are, the more likely they are to support, lend a hand, and assist you when you need it.
Do not just contact them when you lose your job, seek a new career or other job opportunities. You can keep connected with them even just by sending them short emails or personal messages. This act will make your networks feel they are valuable to you which can affect their willingness to help because they know that you are always there for them.
Keep track of your network
Whether you like it or not, keeping in track with your network is one of the most important things to do in creating an executive network. No matter how big or small the number of connections you have, you shall have a list of them either electronically or by the traditional paper and pen methods. This can help you to classify who is who, what company they work on, and how to get in touch with them.
Keeping track of your executive network makes you more updated on what they do or their current business progress. By doing this, you can easily sort them out and identify the aspects that you can help them with. If you successfully support your contacts, they are more likely to return the favor.
Seek networking opportunities
Attending networking events, conferences, community events, and others will expose you to different potential contacts. In these events, it is common to bring up conversations with many different individuals of different industries and organizations as much as possible, and you will meet those that you will be happy to exchange information or business cards. There are many different types of events you can participate in both in-person and digitally.
During this time of the pandemic, most people are cautious to gather in one place, so it can be difficult to network in person. But, with so many ideas and new opportunities that we can get from technology nowadays networking events and professionals are adapting.
The internet has been a valuable source for creating and communicating with more people wherever they are. Many organizers use online platforms in order to produce virtual networking events. Sending a friend request or a brief message to a new network or existing contacts may help them remember you and encourage them to seek out a mutual relationship.
Just make sure that your online profile is updated because even recruiters research through professional networking platforms and some social media resources to examine your skills and experience. Start developing an internet profile as soon as possible if you don’t already have one, because you’ll benefit from it in the future.
Where to connect and network virtually?
LinkedIn is made the gold standard for executive networking. If you are not taking advantage of posting updates, reacting to others’ posts, and making connections, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. Utilize LinkedIn to build a network of first-degree connections with people at your target companies.
Average people use Twitter to just post their daily updates, rants or to just check some of the current events. Meanwhile, as a business person, you can tweet some advice, search, follow and talk on Twitter with your prospective contacts. An active Twitter presence also shows you’re an up-to-date and social media savvy candidate.
Facebook was created in 2004 as a way to connect with family and friends, learn about what’s going on in the world, and share and express what’s important to you. Facebook’s aim, according to the company, is to empower individuals to establish communities and bring the globe closer together.
Facebook groups and other social media have groups or communities that you can join to. These groups have different categories that you can choose from depending on your taste.
Facebook and other more social media platforms come with different benefits and new business opportunities. It is up to you to decide how much time you want to spend on these platforms and choose which one will work best for you.
Blogging or writing articles on your own website, social media, or any online platform is also another way to network with different people. On the other hand, if you want to network with the other author, you may post some comments and suggestions or send them a note that reinforces your organization in order to keep you at the top of their minds.
Quora, Reddit, and Google answers are some of the online resources that you can hear or see around the internet world. On these sites, you can join different communities with different govcon thought executives, leaders, experts, and other individuals who have the same interest as you. You can freely express your knowledge, expertise, and experiences using these platforms.
People at work
When we are working in a corporate environment or our personal brand, we often forget that we have other people working in the same industry. You shall never miss the opportunity to get to know your colleagues, people from the accounting department, HR Team, other departments, vendors, customers, suppliers, and other contacts.
In-person networking events
Of course, we are still hoping that big networking events will happen in person. But do not be dismayed because you may still encounter this without being noticed. Simply starting a conversation with someone while waiting for your coffee in the café, waiting for the train to arrive, or at the bus stop is already considered networking.
Take Care of your Network
Having an existing network stuck in your email and business cards is not enough to call them a network. Sometimes it is best to send them personal updates every once in a while to let them know that you still exist and are willing to help them in their needs.
You can offer some help whenever you can or meet up with them and catch up to see how they are doing. Again, there are so many platforms and resources out there that you can take advantage of. Lastly, you chose these professionals to be in your network for a reason so be mindful of how to take care of them to maintain a long-lasting relationship.