The dictionary defines networking as “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” Now this doesn’t sound all that exciting on its own, so if you want to know why networking should be at the top of your business’s priority list, read on.
Networking can take many forms, ranging from casual business lunches to fancy award ceremonies or parties. It can also take place online via email, social media or websites like LinkedIn. You can even network from home, with the rise of video call sites like Zoom (we can thank the pandemic for that one). The thing that unites all of these is the why; namely that it gives professionals the opportunity to connect with each other and ultimately grow their careers and/or businesses.
Why is networking so important?
- Contacts – One of the reasons we network is to make connections with people in our industry. These connections or ‘contacts’ can become very useful; you can gain valuable information, learn from established ‘leaders’ in your field and they can even help to find you a job down the line. Networking is all about using your contacts to help each other out. It’s also a great way to make new friends and expand your social circle. You never know what opportunities may arise from it.
- Build confidence – If you’re introverted, shy or have just never networked before, it can seem like a scary prospect. But if you want to become a successful networker, you have to throw yourself in at the deep end. With a little practice and persistence, you can build your confidence with each event.
- Promote your business – Networking is the ideal setting to spread the word about your business. If you are enthusiastic and open, other people will want to know what you have to offer. Social media is great, but sometimes you can’t beat ‘word of mouth’ to raise awareness about your business.
- Career Advice – Once you’ve built up a wealth of contacts, this will be a pool of knowledge you can dip into. Building strong relationships with established business leaders and professionals means you can learn from them. If a problem arises in your profession, or you’re thinking of venturing into a new sector or even if you just want advice on progressing your career, networking will provide you with a place to ask the questions and get them answered.
- In the Know – Regularly attending networking events will give you the opportunity to stay up to date on the latest trends happening in the ‘business world.’ This could be anything from social media trends to developments in technology, which could be vital for your company or business.
As you can see, there’s a lot of benefits to networking, which make it a vital part of building your career or business. Next time you think about networking and the importance of it, keep these points in mind. Make sure to embrace networking as much as possible and start getting the advantages right away. After all, there’s no time like the present.