The idea of networking can conjure up some strong imagery and emotions.
For some people, it might mean going to a mixer (usually outside work) where you make small talk, exchange business cards, become thoroughly bored, and start creeping toward the nearest exit. For others, it may be a struggle, especially if you’re an introvert and don’t have many social experiences to draw upon. Yet for others, it may mean being something you’re not, putting on airs, and engaging in a certain level of fakery. Finally, it might mean wearing an embarrassing badge that says “Hello, my name is….” and filling in the blanks.
Regardless, you can’t work in a vacuum. It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in; you cannot be successful on your own, and to believe that you can make it alone is a fallacy.
There are some things at work that you won’t be able to do without collaborating with people, and depending on the scope of the project you’re working on, it could involve just a few people or several large teams of people. There’s just no getting around it; you’ll need to network with people within your business to see your project through to completion.
There are several reasons you need to master the fine art of networking:
- You need to be seen. Hiding in your office or inside your cubicle makes you a lone wolf and creates the impression that you’re not a team player.
- You need to establish relationships and form alliances. You’ll never know when you might need to have someone advocate for you, especially if it means keeping your job in the face of budget cuts and downsizing.
- Today’s ally may become tomorrow’s boss. Some of these people will be on an upward trajectory within the company and establishing a relationship with them right now may also aid you in furthering your career with the company. You never know who will be promoted and may need additional support in their new role.
- You need to become knowledgeable about the company and how it works. This doesn’t mean that you engage in idle, malicious office gossip, but it does mean that you keep your proverbial ear to the ground in order to become aware of any sea changes within the organization.
- You need to gain credibility within the organization in terms of what you have accomplished, what you can do, and what you might be able to do in the future.
Finally, how do you become a networker extraordinaire? Here are seven tips to networking success:
- Be yourself. People can smell inauthenticity and hidden agendas a mile away.
- Be seen at company get-togethers. Don’t be the type of person who tries to make themselves invisible in the back of the room.
- Get to know people before making a request of any type. You may learn in the process that while this person might be great to know, they also may not be the go-to person you may need in the future.
- Create the evidence that you are trustworthy and reliable. Make sure your words match your actions. Don’t just say you’re going to do something to be a people pleaser, but follow through. Above all else, don’t flake.
- Know the players. If you are going to a networking event, find out who’s going to be there and familiarize yourself with their key accomplishments.
- Stay positive! The worst thing you can say at any networking event or meeting is “Man, I hate these things, don’t you?”
- Ask questions and make it about the other person. Pick their brains in a nice way so that they don’t feel like they’re being manipulated.
Barrister Executive Suites offers a unique opportunity to also network with people from other companies. Whether it’s having coffee in the breakroom or attending one of our suite events, it’s great to be able to get to know the people around you. We hold regular mixers and parties so that tenants can mingle, network, and get to know the amazing community that we have in our Barrister Executive Suites!
Now get out of your comfort zone, emerge from your cubicle or office, and get to know the people that will be mutually beneficial.