Actively networking is absolutely crucial to your career. However, networking isn’t about selling yourself to the most important people in a room so your business’s numbers go up; it’s about building profitable, long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial to both parties.
The benefits that successful networking offer are extremely helpful and the return on networking can improve your life both personally and professionally. With that in mind, below are five of the top benefits of networking.
Networking can help create new business partners, situate you in the good graces of potential employers, enlighten you to new information, and create a great public image. The truth is,you never know when opportunities will arise.
The person in front of you at the coffee shop? They could be a potential business partner. The person you introduced yourself to at last year’s holiday party? They could be the CEO of a new tech startup. The opportunities that come from networking can surprise you, so it’s important to remember that networking is an ongoing process – it doesn’t just happen at company meetings.
Personal & professional advice
Gaining the advice of experienced professionals is a great benefit of networking. Discussing common challenges and career moves with your peers can often help in more ways than you would typically imagine.
Networking can create long lasting and valuable relationships, and by having like-minded, goal-oriented people surrounding you who are capable of giving you career advice may just steer you away from a potentially shady business deal, or perhaps towards a new promotion.
Increased public image
Being visible and creating a positive impression is one of the top benefits of networking. Regularly attending professional and social events will help to get your name and face known.
If you network consistently, you greatly increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and possibly even lending your expertise to someone in need.
This may not be the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think about the benefits of networking, but the boost of self-esteem that comes by sharing your ideas and lessons learned can definitely give you that boost of confidence you may be needing.
Getting out and sharing your ideas is also a good way to give back some of the intellectual property you have obtained through networking. It can help create and foster a culture of professionals that continually sharpen one another, whether personally or professionally.
As I said earlier, networking isn’t simply about selling yourself to a certain group of people, it’s about building real relationships with real people. Jobs come and go, but if you build solid relationships with the people you meet along the way, you are likely to construct a solid foundation for your career.
Networking is great, and the benefits that come from it are numerous. But if you don’t continue to maintain the relationships, you will find that much of your work was done in vain. So, after you make an initial connection with someone, remember to stay in touch with them so that relationship can continue to grow.