‘Your network is the people who want to help you and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful’. This is a quote about networking by Reid Hoffman, the American Entrepreneur and co-founder of LinkedIn. This was found via a quick google search and I think it sums up networking very well. Certainly, the bit about networking being a two-way dialogue.
Networking is very important in today’s work and job market. Your networking strategy is key to ensuring ongoing, mutually beneficial and collaborative outcomes.
Whether you are job searching, where it is said around 80% of jobs are unadvertised, working for a small company or in the ‘gig economy’, it is essential to network.
Networking can be formal and structured or more informal. For example; a conversation at a at a networking event, connecting and sending a message via LinkedIn or maintaining contact with old work colleagues.
Here at DJ Learning, we strive to balance between the ‘give and take’ of networking and we have come across some great people along the way;
- Networking events
There are many types of events, which creates a lot of choice. It is important to research who will be there, ultimately there must be a clear focus and strategy to all your networking activities.
Doing your homework is key as is following up on any contacts you make. Exchanging business cards works well, if followed up with a further contact. We have been lucky to meet some great people at these events, from Introbiz to the U.K. business awards, all of whom we continue to develop positive working relationships.
This is certainly a great medium to network with other professionals. Whilst it is primarily to connect with people you know or who have met, you can also connect with people who have shared interests or shared working/business interests. Again, the key thing here is to interact and follow up/respond to messages. Very recently we had a meeting with Paul McVeigh to discuss potential work together in the future, that all came via connecting and interacting on LinkedIn.
- Utilising your current network to build new connections
You never know who someone you know, may know, who may be just that person you are looking to meet and work with! For example, 18 months ago, our accountant recommended someone to design our website; the outcome has been our always evolving website of which we are very proud as it truly represents who we are.
There is no doubt that networking is a worthwhile, ongoing and evolving process that is best approached with an open and collaborative mind-set.