Ah, networking. You hear it in every tagline, every website, every career advice column. Not all of us are good at it, not all of us want to do it, but if you’re looking to further your career and grow your businesses—it’s highly necessary.
That said, you are not obligated to network with everyone you meet. You’re going to run into a few folks who aren’t necessarily networking material. And that’s okay. If you’re confused over just whom the best people to network with are, we at NAPW can help.
If someone who has your best interests at heart (mentor, sponsor, boss, etc.) introduces you to a potential connection who can further your career, that’s definitely a person who is a networking candidate.
2. Local, Reputable, Well-Established Business People
Networking is not only about what someone else can do for you. It’s about what you can also do for them. See how you can offer a service to those who need it. Not saying to go door-to-door, but if you patronize an old-fashioned mom-and-pop shop, can you use your social media skills to heighten its profile? Are their other services you can trade with businesses in your community or even online? If so, it’s a win-win for everyone.
3. Your Colleagues
You never know where an opportunity may come up. It could lie with your current colleagues. If a co-worker is offered a role with a new company and doesn’t think he or she is a good fit, maybe you’ll be the person whose name gets passed along. Keep an ear out for referrals. Stay discreet, but let your colleagues know you’re interested in new opportunities.
4. Networking Groups
It’s in the name. That’s what these groups exist for. Don’t show up to a meeting of a networking group sans business card. That’s your time to show it off. Of course, it is not a time to worry if you don’t get to everyone in attendance—just do your best to reach as many attendees as you can, especially if their businesses are relevant to your industry.
While it helps to narrow down networking candidates into categories, don’t forget to rely on your instincts. If you just listen to them enough, your common sense will tell you who are the best people to network with.
We want to hear from you! How do you use networking to grow your business? Do you feel networking has increased your business success? Share your comments below.