Most people have been told that networking is important, but many of them are not fully convinced. That and the fact that they do not feel comfortable doing it means that most don´t network at all. That is a shame because surveys show that a significant percentage of jobs are filled as a direct result of networking.
However, finding your next job is not the only reason to network. Below, we consider more of the advantages it brings, including some of the less obvious ones.
Improving relationships with your colleagues
Networking with the people you work directly with and others from your business is just as important as connecting with others. You need to be close to these people to be able to do a good job. Socialising and networking with them is a great way to improve your relationship with them.
Finding a mentor
Spending time attending networking venues and events is an effective way to find a mentor. Studies show that having someone more experienced to bounce ideas off of and to provide guidance is a fast way to improve your skill set. That person only has to be a couple of steps ahead of you on their career path.
A source of career advice and new ideas
Improving your skill set is only a small part of career development. Understanding which job to take on next is also important. Sometimes, making a sideways move is wise. For example, to acquire a skill you will need to advance to the next level. At networking events, others who are ahead of you on a similar trajectory will be able to provide invaluable career advice.
Access to valuable inside industry knowledge
Being on the inside track gives you the edge. It enables you to spot and take advantage of opportunities at an early stage. Networking events are ideal places for picking up insider information.
Sometimes in business, you will see an opportunity but not have the funds or resources to take advantage of it. In that situation, finding a partner can be a good solution. This article explains how to find business partners through networking.
Uncovering solutions for difficult problems
All businesses come across issues that are difficult to solve. Often, someone you meet at a networking event will have a solution. It can be as simple as them sharing a different way of doing things or telling you about a tool or piece of software that solves the issue.
Networking increases your visibility and that of the business you own or work for. This is especially the case if you are prepared to stand up and give presentations or get involved in organising the events.
Boosting credibility and reputation
Taking part is also a great way of boosting credibility and building your reputation. The more helpful you can be, the better. But, be careful not to overcommit. People will not trust you if you do not deliver on your promises. If you tell someone you will call, ensure you do so.
Finding new customers
At some networking events, you will be mainly meeting others who work in your industry. People who are your competitors that you can learn from. At others, there will be a big mix of business owners. All of which are potential customers. People who already know and trust you so are highly likely to turn to you when they need the products or services that you sell.
All of the above advantages and benefits come together to add up to personal and business growth. Growing personally improves your skill set, automatically leading to better business decisions, increased sales and higher profitability.