Lots of people ask me about this so thought I’d share some basic thoughts. Networking, lets face it, is an essential part of any professional life, but it’s not rocket science. My guess is that for most people, it’s either habitual and part of your daily life, or, you do it when you have the time.
Strangely, when I compare my approach to networking vs. my social media habits, they are quite different. I would probably be classed as a binge tweeter, it’s feast or famine depending on how busy I am which considering I am a communications professional is not what would be expected. But networking, well that’s a different beast altogether.
I could honestly say that is something that makes up a part of every day, much of what I do and what I have done since I started my career has been networking. Perhaps because I started in sales, it became second nature early on. That I ended up in PR, a natural progression as far as I see it, it remained a very important part of my job.
The thing is, if you don’t like networking you probably aren’t very good at it but if you are too overt about networking then those you try and connect with will see straight through you. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of being blatantly networked, the key is that there must be mutual value and at an even more basic level, people need to like you and enjoy your company. You need to be able to prove pretty early on in the relationship that you can be useful too.
Practised well it can help your career whatever you do and for many professions, being good at networking and being well connected across your sector, with your customers…media,blogger, the list goes on.. is essential.
Networking is a reciprocal skill, a good PR for instance is also a good matchmaker and good networking is good matchmaking. You must be comfortable for it to work in one direction for a while, introduce others and help create valuable relationships for others, don’t always, just think about how it can help you.
Because as the saying goes, what goes around comes around. How to use social media to enhance your networking next…