For me 2017 was a year of learning and growing and one of the many things that I learnt is how powerful networking can be.
Networking is described as the process of “interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But the truth is that many of us do not know how to network. In my opinion, to effectively network, one needs to have a purpose in mind. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to network?
- What do I want to learn/gain/achieve from attending a networking event or meeting like-minded people?
- What value can I bring to others? (as it is not just about gaining, it is also about giving)
So how can you actually utilise and expand your network?
- If you are interested in attending networking events use websites like Eventbrite and meetup.com to search for different events (a lot of them are free to attend)
- Use LinkedIn to search for people in your industry or people who you want to connect with that you think you can learn from – add them – bite the bullet and drop them a message (you’ve got nothing to lose)
- Join networks and groups, on platforms like, Facebook and WhatsApp that regularly post about different events and opportunities
- Follow people on different social networks and do not be afraid to drop them a message or email them if they have their email in their bio (you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help you)
- Most importantly ask your friends!
I describe it as the power of networking because you do not really understand how powerful your network can be until you fully immerse yourself within it. Not only can you use it to share experiences and find out information but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, which can be the drive and motivation you need to push yourself to greater heights.
As I always say, it is very important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals as not everyone is on the same path as you and sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to find those who are.
Networking can also open the door to new opportunities so when you see others attending events that you are interested in, be sure to ask them how they found out about it. If you do not ask you will never know. There is nothing worse than not trying.
So take the plunge. Attend networking events. Connect with new people (use the internet). Introduce yourself. Listen and learn. Take notes. Follow up and be of value.
How powerful will you allow your network to be?