The Power of Networking: Your Path to Professional Success
- December 15, 2022
Picture this. You get on a bus, and you notice another passenger wearing a name tag with the logo, “Global Supply Chain Solutions,” which just so happens to be a company that you would like to work for. Do you introduce yourself and tell them that you’re working in the same industry? Or do you hide at the back of the bus?
A few months later, you get invited to a large gala event at a convention centre for supply chain professionals. When you enter the convention centre, the entire building is crowded, loud, and full of unfamiliar faces. You would like to get to know some of these people, but where do you start?
These are common questions for any professional who is looking to network and build their career. To get answers and learn how to develop better networking skills, keep reading!
What is Networking?
Networking is the act of meeting other people to share professional information or expand your professional social contacts. Your relationship might develop into a friendship, or it might simply be a one-time interaction. Either way, both parties stand to benefit from the relationship by sharing industry contacts, insider tips, and other useful information.
Why is networking important?
Though the internet has many resources for discovering job opportunities, it is still important to know the right people. Even if networking does not lead to a job opportunity, it can help you discover useful information to boost your career, such as what professional conferences to attend, what online classes to take, or what topics to study.
How to network successfully: Tips you can start using now
1. Come Prepared with a Clear Goal in Mind
To avoid being overwhelmed and to make the best use of your time, it is always a good idea to have a plan for any networking event. Decide beforehand what you would like to achieve at the event. Are you looking to meet someone from a certain company? Do you want to befriend people that are in the same field as you? Is there a certain piece of information you want to learn about, such as what software others in your field most commonly use?
2. Have some Conversation Starters Ready
The most awkward and challenging moment in any conversation with any person is the beginning, especially when you meet someone for the first time. If your networking event has food, you can start a conversation by commenting on the food. “These sandwiches are fantastic, right?” You could also comment on how impressed you are by the event. “Wow. I’m learning so much here that it is overwhelming. What about you?” Another alternative is to comment on the location. “What a beautiful venue.”
Once you get past the first few seconds, the conversation will start flowing, and you won’t have to think much about what to say.
3. Never dismiss anyone as unimportant
When you come to a networking event, you might enter with the intention of meeting someone famous, someone working in an executive position, or someone working for a company that you’re interested in. Stop! When networking, remember that you are there to help others as much as others are there to help you. You might just learn something useful from someone unexpected. Everyone has something to teach you!
4. Figure out how you can be useful
As mentioned, when attending a networking event or networking with people in a public space, it is always important to think about what you can do to help. Can you help someone make a connection? Do you have an acquaintance that you think would help someone else? Maybe you know something unique about your industry that could be useful to others.
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