Do you want to know a (not-so-secret) secret for success in the business field? You probably already know what it is. That’s right, it’s networking! Networking can affect your career and even your whole life in a myriad of ways. Adam Small, the CEO of Strategic Business Network, considers networking the most viable and effective tool for any individual or organization to achieve and sustain success. Likewise, many influential leaders point out ‘networking’ as their key success factor. They often say that young professionals tend to underestimate the importance of networking or are reluctant to reach out and build long-term relationships.
Here are a number of reasons why conventional face-to-face ‘networking’ is still extremely valuable in our day and age of smartphones and instant messaging:
- Your network can lead to friendships. Authentic friendships, which require human interaction beyond that of your computer screen, can greatly enhance your ability to deal with the emotional and psychological stress that you’ll inevitably face at work. Having a stable and faithful group of friends enables you to take risks and make mistakes, confident that no matter how great you may fall you have people committed to helping you get back on your feet.
- Your network can lead to many opportunities. Investing in and cultivating your connections in the business world could lead to a better job or higher pay. Good networking will lead you to the ‘blue ocean” of opportunity, which is rapidly expanding with the growth of the global economy. Networking provides you with the chance to make a greater impact for good in your local community, country, or region.
- Your network is a source of advice and assistance. No one is perfect, and when faced with tough decisions people want reliable and sensible advice. With a diverse network, you will always have a place to go to receive relevant advice and assistance. Not only that, but you will have access to different view points, allowing you to approach a situation for a variety of angles.
- Your network is a source of organic inspiration. Being around influential and inspiring people creates a natural setting for you to think critically and creatively. Even if you don’t notice immediately, upon further reflection you’ll see how big of an impact the people you work with has on how you solve problems and interact with others. Surround yourself with people you admire for their specific gifts and talents and be willing to learn from them.
According to the Pew Research Center, the average American has approximately 634 contacts. However, they do not know how to use them to capture the benefits listed above. Despite the host of benefits associated with networking, many people find it difficult to network effectively. While it may be awkward and uncomfortable to put yourself out there, the people you know can be some of the richest resources when it comes to your career.
Successful networking can help you land the dream job, and can help build a strong system of connections that can be relied upon in the future, whether its for advice or other help.