After attending my third networking event of the week (last week), I realised that networking is one of the most valuable uses of my time in terms of return—and not just in monetary terms.
Networking is free, most of the time. It’s rooms full of like-minded individuals, and if you go to the right events they are people that you can work with or learn from in some way.
Of course, you do get the odd event where people just end up trying to sell something. But I’m very glad that I’m coming across this less and less.
Most of us recognise that networking is beneficial to our businesses and careers.
Yet for some reason, we only think of its benefits in the short term – when job or consultant hunting. However, connecting with other professionals can help with every aspect of career or business development.
So invest in these relationships – don’t just reach out to other professionals in times of crisis.
Let’s take a look at these 11 Benefits of Networking:
1. Makes You More Visible
What many professionals fail to understand is that the fight for visibility and standing apart from competition does not end once you get the job. In fact, making yourself more visible in the workplace is not only harder, but it also requires a lot more skill.
One of the advantages of networking is that it helps you become more visible because you become that one person that knows everyone and can be asked to make introductions or provide insight on prospects, associates etc.
Precisely because networking makes you more visible, it also opens new doors.
From getting approached by recruiters about job opportunities to getting noticed by people who would like to work with or for you on a freelance basis. You never know when an opportunity that can advance your career will present itself.
It’s important to understand that opportunities not only present themselves in the form of new jobs, but can mean meeting important people in your industry that can change the course of your career, or be given the chance to start your own business.
3. It Allows You to Help Others
One of the most important benefits of networking that people tend to overlook is that it allows you to help other people.
Granted, our motives in the professional world are rarely altruistic, but helping someone else with their career goals can be truly rewarding.
What’s more, helping out a professional connection means that they’ll owe you one, which essentially means that by making introductions and helping other people connect, you are basically paving the path for your professional success.
4. Exchange Fresh Ideas
Most of us try to stay up to date with changes in our fields either through continuing our education or via reading up on industry news. But there’s a wealth of knowledge out there which you can gain access to by simply talking to other professionals in your industry.
The power of Masterminding in Entrepreneurial Networks is critical to staying in touch and being progressive.
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5. Allows You to Express Opinions
A professional network is there to share opinions about the industry and exchange information. You can discuss industry related matters that you have been thinking about and ask for advice whenever you reach an impasse.
Having this kind of support system is one of the many advantages of networking and it’s why people are encouraged to take an active role in building their network.
Be careful not to overshare and keep getting constructive feedback.
6. Expands Your Support Network
Another benefit is that it helps you build a support network that can assist you at every stage of your career.
Let’s say that you are interviewing with a company; in an open network there will be someone who’s gone through the same process in the past which means that they can give you advice and tips on how to conduct yourself and what to expect.
The is true when you are trying to approach a new prospect. An open network can mean getting tips on what the prospect likes and what the best tactic to approach is.
7. Can Help Get You Promoted
According to many studies, having an open network is a predictor of success and it ensures promotions and salary increases. Remember that connecting with other professionals gives you insight and makes you more visible, attributes that any boss values and looks to reward.
The key is to use your contacts wisely and to be smart about how you carry yourself in the workplace.
Remember that if you’ve been contacted by a recruiter about a new position you can use the offer to leverage your current position. The chances are that your boss will learn to appreciate you more once they know that you are in demand.
8. Boosts Your Self-Esteem
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about networking benefits, but the boost to your self-esteem is something to consider.
By getting to know people and being asked about your opinions/ideas and being asked to introduce people can be quite the social thrill. It’s exactly what you need especially if you are an introvert who’s looking to advance themselves in a cut-throat business environment.
There are many methods and techniques to get over your initial shyness and actually start talking to people, but the important thing to remember is that it can be done on your own terms.
Networking is something anyone can achieve as long as they set their mind to it.
9. It Becomes Your Resource
You probably have tonnes of questions about your industry that not even Google can help you with. Talking to other professionals (and this includes colleagues) can help you resolve these questions.
Your professional network essentially functions as your resource because as the old adage goes two minds are better than one.Having these connections means that you can tap into their knowledge whenever you need to and they will feel inclined to give you access.
10. Influence Things Positively
Sometimes all our careers need is an influencer who can help things go our way and that’s what a professional network does a lot of the time.
It puts in a good word and applies pressure whenever it’s necessary. It’s an aid in helping you achieve your goals, and this is precisely why taking active steps towards building and maintaining a network is essential.
A professional network can help your career in many ways including getting a job, promotion and even leveraging a raise. However, to achieve all of that you need to step outside your comfort zone and start connecting with other people in your field.
Remember that you can’t just build the relationships, you need to maintain them by following up and keep up with all of your connections.
11. Networks Done Well Make You Happy.
Kathryn Minshew (CEO and co-founder of The Muse) wrote: “Networks are powerful, and when done right leave you surrounded by a core of individuals who are all rooting for your success and happy to help you.” So true.
Networking is essential. Get out there and build your network.
Remember that your net worth is only as good as your network.
What is your chosen method of networking?
Let us know in the comment section below.
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