What do you think of networking? Some love it and some not so much. I’m in Switzerland on the topic, I do attend networking events, ones that fit with me and how I operate. When people ask me about the importance of networking, I certainly advocate for them to be proactively involved – in a way that feels OK with them.
Like any new relationship it takes some time to get to know the people and the group. So take your time with that. Have some goals that you want to achieve with the group. If you’re not getting what you want from the group then re-evaluate, perhaps you are looking for new work opportunities, perhaps connection with likeminded professionals or maybe you’re on the look out for inspiration and new ideas? Whatever your reason for being a part of a networking group, check-in with yourself to see if its serving you.
A head-hunter once told me that 50% of jobs on the market come through your network. This in and of itself is a good reason to get involved in networking.
When you’re networking stop and think about what the other person and/or group may be doing or needing. Offer help if they’re asking for it or if you sense what they may want or need. Be sure to actively contribute to the relationship and group in a consistent way.
If you’re asking for feedback, think it through. If you find it useful act on it and be sure to let the other person know what you got out of it, if you don’t act on it, think through the best way of closing the loop and letting the other person know. This is called a bid towards the other person and they will appreciate it, the act of giving feedback is also a bid, they’ve taken the time to connect with you.
Be sure to make your interactions and communications meaningful and useful.
If you’ve just landed a new job be sure to connect with your new colleagues early on. If you know who they are connect with them on LinkedIn with a personal note, perhaps even guess their email address and say hello.
Quantity – how many are too many people in your network? Many people say having a select group is best. I agree with this in terms of your inner circle, if you have a business that is B2C then having a larger network is also very useful. So be clear about the segmentation of your network and work each aspect for the purpose you have settled on for it.