How do professionals go about networking besides handing out their business cards? Most know networking can benefit both their personal lives and professional lives, but not everyone understands how to do it with tact.
While networking can work for individuals in a multitude of ways, a self serving perspective of only networking when in need is why many don’t do it to begin with.
In contrast, a valuable and affective network does the opposite. As stated in the Forbes article, The Networking Advice No One Tells You, “A strong network is built with mutually beneficial relationships; where both parties benefit. In the process of getting to know someone, you understand how you can add value and help them, and they are then willing to help you.”
Networking shouldn’t be viewed as a self seeking pastime, but instead a desire to connect with like-minded professionals, create camaraderie, and even a community of professional interests and support. The Harvard Business Review states:
“A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.”
So, how can you successfully network without feeling phony or egocentric?
In the end, the focus of networking isn’t about boosting ourselves up or simply getting a new job. Maybe a few years down the line, a good friend that was made from intentional networking has the perfect opportunity, but there is much more to it than that.
Building a community of people with similar backgrounds, interests, or goals is where innovation has the opportunity to take off, and potentially change the trajectory of our professional lives.
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