I’ve been asked to speak at a conference on the importance of networking. Several people have asked me, “Why are you speaking on this topic to a group of employed people? Don’t you just network when you are looking for a job??”
Ah, I’m glad they asked.
Meghan Wier, author of Confessions of an Introvert: The Shy Girl’s Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most Out of Life, said
“If you’re not looking to move up or learn anything new, then by all means avoid networking. But if you want to bring more to your job and expand your career in any way, then it helps an awful lot to know the right people.”
Here are my top five reasons (and there are way more than 5!)
for yourself, or to connect others. People do business with people they know and like, so whether it’s an opportunity to earn an employee referral bonus, obtain a new client or a new sale, or connect others – for the same reasons, or just to help them – you never know who you might be sitting next to or meeting.
about business, people, your company, your city, or your neighbors. You might learn just by talking to them, or maybe it will lead you to get involved – with a project on their team, in a civic or community organization, your church or a non-profit, or simply helping a neighbor! And, guess what? That might lead to more networking!
about anything, personally or professionally; or maybe about networking?
internally or externally. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have talked with someone who was looking for a new position and I asked them how they might use their network. At least 50% of the time, the answer is “I don’t have a network; I’ve really only met the people I work with”. Of course, those people count as a network also, and they also likely know some other people they might not be classifying as “network” – neighbors, family, friends – but the point is, they had not been “intentionally networking” inside or outside of their organization. It’s a lot easier to find a new position when you are meeting people who might have leads, who might be able to help you, or maybe, just hire you!
Most of my friends – old and new – were made by networking, via work, kids’ activities, church, or truly defined “networking events.”
At the beginning of this blog I referred to a quote by Megan Wier who said, “…then it helps an awful lot to know the right people.” I would suggest that most of the time we likely don’t know who the “right” people are; just start by meeting new people. You might be surprised.
I suggest, you don’t have time to NOT network!