Everyone has heard that networking is one of the most important ways to build a successful career. However, very few people have a firm grasp of what networking is. Networking is a soft skill and can be difficult to quantify, yet it’s one of the most crucial pathways to success in any industry. Many people have a difficult time with the concept of networking. Luckily, there are several easy ways to get better at this skill.
Define Your Goal
The first key to networking is to define a goal. One point of having a network is that it helps someone achieve their career target. Without having an objective, it can be difficult to build an effective network. Having an endpoint in mind makes it easier to build a team that makes it easier to achieve that goal. A network should be made up partly of people who can act as mentors. It’s also a good idea to seek out people who can act as connections to other key people in an industry.
Consider It A Community
Another thing to consider in building a network is to understand that a network is in many ways, just a community. Networks are in many ways a business community for a given person. A good network is diverse, including people in a variety of roles and at different points in their careers. It’s great to know people in the C-suite who have valuable connections and expertise. It’s also important to know support workers, who can be great sources of information about office politics and very effective gatekeepers.
It Goes Both Ways
The other important thing to consider in building a network is that it’s a two-way street. Networking isn’t just about what person A can do for person B. It’s also about what person B brings to the table. In any relationship, it’s a good idea to attempt to give more than one takes. Being an effective contributor can make networking easier. People in every industry will seek go-getters out and add them to their networks.
Finally, the most important thing to consider in building a network is to be fearless. It can be intimidating to approach others, especially those who are already successful in their careers. However, a little bravery can go a long way.
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