In today’s world, everything is about networking. Yes, it is a buzzword, but we need people, we need relationships, and we need to develop connections internally and externally.
Here’s a definition of networking: two people come together to efficiently learn about each other, give a window into who they are and what they do, and create interest to meet again and to explore synergy.
What is the organizational outcome? Silos are broken down, mutual support is created, and more efficient solutions are found. Networking broadens our view of the organization, increases innovation, cost effectiveness and efficiencies.
For many extroverts, networking comes easily. For introverts, though, it can be a bit more challenging. Think of it in terms of the SMS Situational Influence Model. The first way utilizes Push Energy Influence Styles, and the second way utilizes Pull Energy Influence Styles.
- You give clear information about yourself and your technical/industry background in a way that makes people want to talk to you again.
- You listen so that the other person feels understood, acknowledged and respected, and wants to give you more information.
Outcomes of effective networking:
- You are seen as authentic
- You have credibility
- You have technical and industry insights that others find valuable
- You create curiosity for more in-depth exploration at a later meeting
Networking is not:
- A solution, or an end
- A sales gimmick or maneuver
- A means to finding your soul mate
- A long conversation
- Taking hostages!
We are all connected. Networking is a skill that everyone should have and feel comfortable doing. We need to be able to explore our synergies in-depth. This connection creates an organizational advantage over other companies whose staff cannot network. Our ability to network with each other is an organizational life skill.
Written by Sherri Malouf and Rick Eber