How Does Business Networking Help You?
Networking is one of the most important tools in growing your professional career. Sometimes who you know can be the difference between landing a major project or not. One potential problem with networking is limiting your network to other individuals in the same profession as you. Landing in one of these “cliques”, though, can cause you to miss out on amazing opportunities.
“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”Michele Jennae
Meeting new people outside your profession or the company you work for may seem challenging at first, but there are many ways to expand your professional circle. One approach is to connect with people who are in career fields adjacent to your own. Think about the professions that complement the work you do every day. For an animator, for example, this might be a concept artist or a scriptwriter. Connecting with professionals in related businesses is a great way to expand your networking circle naturally.
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Attend seminars and events in an industry complementary to yours to not only expand your knowledge of other industries, but also interact with professionals you might never have connected with otherwise. Events and seminars, whether they are in your industry or not, attract other professionals from all over the country—and sometimes the world—who are looking to expand their own networks, so always keep an eye out for interesting events you can attend.
It is easy to become friends with individuals the same age as yourself—but you should always be connecting with professionals who may not seem to have as much in common with you. Connect with people older and younger than you. These connections can enrich your network by associating you with different generations of networks and contacts.
Likewise, connect with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. You may discover new markets for your products or services – or be inspired to develop new products or services that support people of different cultures. Diversify your network in many directions for the most balanced approach.
Another way to expand your network is through social media, including professional websites like LinkedIn. Social media gives you access to thousands and thousands of individuals inside and outside your industry. The more you grow your social media network, the more opportunities you have to befriend connections of your connections, allowing you to gather a wide range of professional contacts.
Always be looking for ways and opportunities to naturally expand your network group so you never feel stuck in a professional clique. This assures you are prepared if and when you need to broaden or change your career choices.
“Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time.”— Alan Collins
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Kim Ruiz has been writing professionally for over 25 years. This guest post was written by Logan M. Cole – learn more about his writing.