19 Oct Why Is Networking Important In The Workplace? Effective Networking Tips
Here at This Is Us Conference, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of networking. It can have so many benefits for you as an individual, and your wider organisation. For example, as an individual, you can meet new connections and learn more from them and their experiences. Meanwhile, your organisation an also benefit from these new connections, perhaps for an interesting business partnership or idea? However, we know that many people dread the thought of networking and really struggle with doing it effectively. So, why is networking important in the workplace?
In today’s blog post, we’ll be going through some of the reasons why it’s important for all professionals to take part in, as well as sharing our top tips for the most effective, and pain-free, networking! Whatever industry you’re in, these tips are interchangeable and will be useful for you. So, if you’re interested and want to know more networking secrets, keep on reading…
So, why is networking important in the workplace?
If you often feel that persistent sense of dread before you know you’re going to have to take part in networking, know that you’re not alone. It’s a pet hate of so many people, which is a shame because we think that it’s just so important! While your best efforts may be trying to convince you otherwise, there are so many benefits to be gained from networking in the workplace and outside of it, too. Furthermore, with practice, you will find that networking becomes easier and easier, and you’ll start to reap the benefits for yourself. Now, let’s take a look at just a few of these benefits to help answer the question of why is networking important in the workplace for you!
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
You’ve probably have heard this tired old saying before. Perhaps you’ve not really paid much heed to what it’s saying. However, it’s a fact that, in the workplace, it’s often true! Knowing the right people and building professional relationships with them can do wonders for you and your organisation. If you’re looking for a new role, your connections can really help you find it. But, networking is also useful for other purposes such as finding suppliers, venues, service providers, and so much more! In fact, without a solid network of connections, you may find yourself at a disadvantage in the workplace. Having said that, we all have to start somewhere. So, if your network isn’t quite where you want it to be yet, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start building it up!
Networking makes people notice you
The more people you know, the more people will know about you! If you’re known in your industry or wider network for being a confident networker who isn’t afraid to put themselves out there, your reputation will quickly spread. And, you may find that people come to you to network because they’ve heard about you from their own connections. Who doesn’t want to build up a solid reputation in the workplace? If this is your dream, networking consistently and professionally will definitely help you get there.
It will grow your confidence
When it comes to your career, self-confidence is important. Having a great sense of confidence will help you grow as a person, both professionally and personally. It will give you the extra boost you need to go for that promotion, new role, change of career, and so on. But what can you do to help build this confidence? Networking, of course! Making an effort to put yourself out there and meet new people in the workplace is the number one way to build your professional confidence. You will soon learn that you have a lot of useful knowledge and skills to offer people, and others want to connect with you, which will boost your confidence in no time!
Why is networking important in the workplace you actually work in?
So far, our tips have focussed on networking in the workplace in the general sense. That is, networking with others outside of your organisation in order to develop your own professional self and wider workplace. While this is vitally important for processing your career, building relationships, and so on, don’t discount the importance of expanding your network in your direct workplace, too. Networking with your colleagues is not just important to ensure that your time at work is more enjoyable. Whether you’re brand new at the company, or are looking for your next promotion, networking can help you make the connections that will get you where you want to go.
Networking with those in your department can be useful if you want to progress in that department, or simply learn more to help progress your career. And, networking with those in the wider organisation can help demonstrate your dedication to the company and willingness to learn, as well as just generally developing your professional relationships with as many people as possible. Trust us, networking within your own workplace is one thing that you don’t want to miss out on!
Top tips for effective networking
So, hopefully, we have now answered the question of why is networking important in the workplace, and convinced you that it really is worthwhile! Up next are some of our top tips for effective networking that are sure to help you on your networking journey, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned networking pro. Keep on reading for more…
Look for networking opportunities everywhere
While networking in the obvious settings, such as dedicated events, is going to be useful for you, don’t let it stop there! Always keep an eye out for your next opportunity to network, as you never know what might be around the corner. This can be as simple as listening to the conversations going on around you in a coffee shop, work canteen, commuter train, and so on. If you hear something that might be of interest to you, don’t be shy. Most strangers won’t mind if you introduce yourself and join their conversation if you have something useful to add. Plus, you never know who you might meet from doing this, that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet before!
Practice makes perfect
When it comes to networking, many people are terrified of it, especially at first. In fact, it’s many people’s worst nightmare, the thought of entering a room of strangers and trying to build meaningful professional relationships with them. Having said this, as with everything, practice really will pay off here. The more networking you do, the easier it will become in the long run. Put yourself out there, and you’ll soon become used to it!
Beforehand, why not practice some easy conversation starters and topics that are relevant to your industry. That way, you’ll know that you always have something to talk about with your fellow professionals, and things will start to seem easier straight away. Don’t forget your firm handshake, eye contact, and confidence too- fake it until you make it, and we promise nobody will realise that you’re not entirely comfortable with the situation!
Don’t ignore networking on social media
Traditionally, networking has taken place primarily in person, at dedicated networking events and the like. However, the digital age is well and truly here and, with that, the way we network is changing. Furthermore, with the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, things have become even more virtual, and we’ve had to adapt to new ways of doing business. This includes networking. So, don’t be afraid of networking on social media.
The best site for this is, of course, LinkedIn. Reach out and connect with people you know, or have met at in-person networking events, to continue the conversation. Also, don’t be afraid to connect with or drop a message to, those in your industry that you haven’t met yet introducing yourself and your work. The worst they can do is not accept your invitation, however, if they do accept it, you never know where this could take you in the way of conversations and business!
Virtual networking is becoming the norm
As we mentioned before, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the ways that many people work. Furthermore, when it comes to the question of why is networking important in the workplace, arguably networking is now more important than ever! It’s vital that we keep our professional connections nurtured, as you never know when they might come in useful in this world of the ‘new normal’. With the pandemic meaning more people are working home than ever before, and ongoing restrictions meaning in-person events are not allowed or rare, more things are moving online. And this means networking, too!
But it’s not just networking on social media. There are plenty of networking events that are moving online too. While they may be a little different from what we’re used to, it’s important that we treat them the same. Take our This Is Us Conference 2020, for example. We made the decision to move it online, but we’ve not seen this as a bad thing. It means that we can invite more delegates to the event, have more expert speakers, and still offer networking opportunities- just virtually! Over the two days of the conference, we offer many opportunities for our delegates to meet and talk to each other online, allowing them to build professional connections, much in the same way that they would if our event was still in-person.
We predict that many other events will take a similar approach in the future. But what do you think? Is online networking the future? Do you find it easier than in-person networking or not? And, do you think the professional connections and relationships you make from it are just as valuable? Let us know!
So, there we have it! We hope that this article has helped to answer the question of why is networking important in the workplace, as well as equipping you with some top tips to make that all-important networking easier! We’re big advocates for networking at our events, so if you want to find out more about how you can join the next This Is Us event, learn about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and get some networking in, simply visit our website today!
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