Somewhere along the line, networking became thought of as a dirty word as something that businesspeople say with some derision.
This is partly due to the fact that over time it has come to be thought of as a chore, when in fact it's still one of the most important tools in a professional's armoury.
Executive Public Speaking Coach and TEDx Speaker Benjamin Loh has this to say on the subject of the negative stereotyping of networking
Networking, in essence, is still relationship building and we should be all familiar with that from various people who speak on building meaningful relationships. Like it or not, the truth is people don't buy what you do or sell instead people buy you as an individual first. If you don't take the first step to be out there (either physically or digitally), who's going to buy you?
Networking can help you find a mentor
Starting out in your career brings with it many ups and downs, and many hard lessons. One of the best things about connecting with others in your industry is that you're bound to find someone who has travelled the road before you and made all of the same mistakes. It might surprise you to know that even some of the most independent and entrepreneurial businesspeople on the planet have themselves benefited from having someone to guide them through, even Richard Branson:
"I have always been a huge believer in the inestimable value good mentoring can contribute to any nascent business" he says. "As a young man entering the mysterious and somewhat scary world of business for the first time, I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of David Beevers, a friend of my parents. David was an accountant and out of sheer kindness (and I suspect some desperate pleading by my mum and dad) he used to spend one evening a week trying to guide me through the basics of bookkeeping“ it was hugely helpful and he displayed amazing patience with my repeated requests of, "Erm, can you run that one by me just one more time, please."
Your connections are your opportunities
Brian Denver is a journalist living in Sydney who attributes a large part of his career success to good networking. "When I first started working as a journalist I signed myself up at every media organisation I could" he says. "Through people I met I was able to secure freelance writing positions, and now with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter I've been able to further grow my professional circles. The role I'm currently in came about purely through a connection I made through Twitter. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone looking to grow their influence and experience in any industry."
This information is current as at 01/12/2014.
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