Is Networking Important?
Networking: the buzzword that has taken the business world by storm but still makes many people nervous. Focusing on building connections with people, networking is essential to developing a career. While some aspects of networking can be intimidating, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Professionals who make networking a priority tend to feel more included in their professional community. They also stay up to date on industry developments, events, and job opportunities. If you’re someone who gets overwhelmed by the thought of having to fit networking into your already hectic schedule, or you tend towards being introverted, I’ve got some good news for you: networking can be performed in many different ways, and a lot of those ways can be completed in under ten minutes with the help of the internet. Below, we’ll talk about different types of networking and tasks they include. But before getting into that, we’ll look at what networking is.
What is networking? Networking encompasses any activities where people create and maintain professional relationships and exchange information. Boosting their business’s profile remains the top reason most business owners network. The more connections you establish within your community, the more opportunities will come your way. Most professionals network every single day without thinking about it, so building a plan for networking is often less intimidating than you might expect.
Networking is sometimes divided into two categories: passive networking and active networking. This distinction is important because it highlights the fact that effective networking doesn’t have to take up significant time or energy, and because it opens up a variety of different approaches for you to personalize your networking strategies.
Passive Networking: Have you ever struck up a casual conversation with somebody, only to find out that they know the perfect person to solve that problem you’ve been having, or vice versa? This happened to my husband recently. His coworker gave him a recommendation for a contractor for some home renovations. We now go to that contractor for all of our projects, and when the time came that our contractor needed a new truck, he bought it from my husband.
This is a great example of passive networking. These are connections that developed organically, based on a foundation of mutual contacts. Everybody benefited through connection building and information sharing. This type of networking happens every day, and it’s an easy way to build your business and professional profile. Some examples of passive networking include:
Suggesting businesses or services that you’ve had a great experience with.
Chatting about your business with friends, family, and acquaintances.
Making the time to chat with the person beside you in the coffee line, or the owner of the independent store in your neighbourhood.
The great thing about passive networking is the low stakes involved. You don’t have to feel pressured or nervous to sell yourself, because neither party has expectations. Organic and casual connections often result in unexpected benefits for both parties.
Active Networking: Considered the more intimidating form of networking, active networking tends to involve more self-promotion and goal-oriented interactions. This type of networking takes some finessing and will be the subject of its own blog post, but the key takeaway is that active networking means you are putting yourself out there in a way that promotes your professional career. Here are some examples of active networking:
Sending a message to an old colleague to ask about a job opening at their new organization.
Adding a new contact on LinkedIn whose professional career you admire or wish to learn more about.
Commenting on another professional’s social media post.
These are all easy, quick ways to actively network, and can be built into your daily routine. Still, nothing can take the place of engaging with people face to face. Staying informed about and attending professional community events is an essential element of networking. Luckily, social media sites have made keeping up with upcoming events a breeze. And we’ve decided to make that step even easier for you, by using our site to highlight upcoming events in the Waterloo and
Networking is, at its core, a social activity. By getting out there and letting people put a face to your name, you’re guaranteed to stick in their brain. Building connections and sharing information is an essential element of building a career. Effective networking should blend a mixture of active and passive techniques and online and in-person methods. By prioritizing networking, you can create connections that solidify your connections to your professional
community and help build your business.