Importance of networking
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”,
What is networking
Every day we interact with people and socialize with them. We meet new people and try to widen our circles. It is quite normal that when we are young, we do not specifically understand the importance of networking. We might surround ourselves with people that we can benefit from, or there is something we might learn from these people. When I was younger, I remember thinking, “I don’t need this person in my life”- There is nothing I can get from him. In the end people use each other in good and in bad. I like to say we are herd animals, we enjoy the companion of each other’s. I was locked down to my room for 2 weeks whilst having covid and I could totally see that people are not supposed to be alone. We need company.
Networking is for the best of you. The more people you know the more doors they will open for you. People like to help each other. Many times, you can find help, if you just ask for help. I wish I would have known this already ten years ago. I was very picky who I was hanging out with and clearly scanned who to socialize with. Now, I only wish I would have met all the people in the world to have all these connections in my life. Maybe they will be beneficial for you somehow, maybe they won’t. Good connections help you to find companion, a soulmate or in your career. There are several different ways to network. You can join parties, after works or different chamber of commerce’s. All kind of seminars and events are a good chance to meet new people. Even trying out a different gym or going to eat lunch in a different venue might bring you new contacts. Nowadays you can easily keep in touch with someone who lives on the other side of the world. We have Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter so you can easily press a like button once in a while and remind your acquaintance that you exist.
Networking skills starts young
It is crucial part of your childhood to start to develop networking skills. It is important for our parents to find company for the children so that they can practice their social skills. It might lead into conflicts and even fights with other children. Already at young age we find out that we are not friends with everyone and some people makes our blood boil. We make our first contacts with our family members, sisters or in the daycare. When back in the days we used to sit by the fireplace and share stories, we do more and more of the networking now days online trough social media. Many relationships are being maintained only through online systems and there is people having actual love relationships over the internet, who have never even met each other. This is mind-blowing. There are platforms created only for children to socialize and they start from the age of 5. According to a study made by Digital Youth Project, these websites are good for children to get contacts, experience social challenges and get creative. Somehow I am grateful that in my childhood there was no social media pages, so we had to play outside and actually meet people face to face. But I admire the younger generation, how experts they are with technology. I remember back in the days when I was a teenager first we got Habbo hotel, where you created a online character and you could scroll around this imaginary world and speak with people. Now when I look at this, hell that was networking as well! Then there was MSN messenger, where you could write to people. Me and my friends used this a lot. We talked and talked trough out the nights. Calling someone was not really a thing at my teenager times, I think everyone avoided calling. It was always a message, a SMS message. Now when I look at my spouses daughter who is thirteen, she talks on the phone hours, she can be on the phone the whole day. So my conclusion is that teens are more brave, but of course the norms have changed.
Networking skills at work
I have always been very social, and I meet people very often. I am not so good at maintaining the relationship. This is my weak spot which I am trying to improve. Whilst working with a huge company I got to meet hundreds of people every week. Working in a large corporation it is impossible to know everyone, but very essential to know the right people. In my work role I was talking daily with shop managers back in the UK , excursion departments all over the world and some tech consults. I created valuable contacts with them. It is so much easier to handle business when you know the person you are dealing with. Even tough business meetings, dinners and get to gathers might feel exhausting, you should go. Good relationships might lead to anything. I called a random guy two years ago to ask work for one my friends, two years later I ended up joining his business and almost ended up by being stakeholder in his company. You do not even need a resume, if your networking is top of the class. Knowing people , knowing good people is priceless. Find contacts that you can assist with something and maybe one day they will return the favor. Also do not be afraid to ask for help. People tend to like to help each other. There are school networks, your work surroundings and colleagues, there are all kinds of communities you can also join to find companions.
People talk. When you have a good connection with people its common that they refer to you. If someone is looking for an expert, good job candidate or just information. We are connecting our contacts every day. Someone might ask you in work about a rental place for a party upcoming. You remember your cousin has a place downtown that he is renting. Catching! You make the connection between these two. Some people has also made this a business. Was inspiring to get to hear that one of our classmates father has made a business of connecting people together. I had never thought about this. Normally networking might be an awkward situation and many people might be scared of an event full of strangers. According to job seekers survey 31% of people looking for work are finding job role trough out their networks that might be otherwise unreachable, there are always positions that are not publicly searched, but filled if there is the right candidate. If your friend is able to hand deliver your resume to the bosses table, it usually makes a good impression, that someone is making that effort because of you. It tells that someone is suggesting that you are a good candidate. According to Jobvite, 23% of job seekers returns their resume trough out a friend or former work colleagues. People are the connection to find new interesting work opportunities, to join some exciting projects or even to find a new friend. New connections also brings you fresh ideas. It might get your business meet with success and bring you new perspectives. Brainstorming with someone might get the wheels rolling in your project that might have been stuck for ages. There are no such ideas as dumb ideas. Get your Linkedin profile ready for action and get to mingle with people. Remember that networking might happen everywhere, either at the gym or standing in a line in a coffee shop. So keep your eyes and mind open for new connections.