Business relies on many factors to function; importantly, the ability to obtain work and make profits depends primarily on being able to reach and retain customers. But even the ability to do that work depends on being able to engage with people. All careers benefit from the ability to network and know the people behind the various enterprises you wish to get involved with.
The difficulty however is that networking isn’t easy for everyone – indeed, most people find it difficult to even know where to begin.
The first aspect is to recognise a fact of modern life: almost everyone is connected. Whether it’s via social media or a blog, most people have some kind of personal contact that lends them existence in digital space. So, if you are hoping to grow your career, you should learn who the big players are in your field and begin making friendly contact with them.
This can be anything from reading their site regularly or following them on social media. You don’t want to be too enthusiastic, however, as this could be offputting and have the opposite effect. Entrepreneur.com advises you be transparent and set the tone immediately, and stick to it.
“Don’t let the fact that you don’t yet know the person hold you back from sending an invite to connect. Simply be transparent, and let them know why you’d like to connect with them online. Whether you’re offering your help, sending them a resource or introducing them to one of your connections, make sure you make it about how you can help them and not how they can help you.”
Digital networking is of course the ideal way to connect, given that this is how almost everyone operates – this also shows your own ability to be tech savvy. It shows many that you have taken an interest in the business and career path; those in positions of power will remember that you took the initiative.
But it doesn’t have to be purely digital – after all, there’s little that replaces real world connection. A good way to network is to either attend or arrange events where people in your industry can gather. If you are unable find the right kind of event, why not try arrange to make one yourself? You can learn how to do this with events management courses, creating a space that you manage and which allows you to directly connect with the people you want.
The rules, however, still apply, regardless of whether interaction is offline. You still need to be courteous and convey that your communication is premised entirely on a shared passion or interest in the specific career or industry you want to make headway in.
This means people know your name and will associate you with the industry. This can also be an opportunity to show off your skills in the industry, which is what is meant by making your connection about what you can give powerful players – not what powerful players can give you.
Considering this as your basis for networking, you should be able to succeed easier than if you did nothing at all.