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Networking as a skill

Networking involves building and maintaining contacts and relationships with other people. The personal networks which you accumulate over time, both socially and professionally can be an invaluable resource. This applies whether you are an entrepreneur looking to start and grow your own new venture, whether you are looking for a job, or working on a project where external ideas and input can help.

Use social media to your advantage


Nowadays , social media makes it easier than ever to hone your existing relationships as well as to make new contacts. Social media is a great way to find others who share your interests. With so many platforms and forums online today you can chat with like-minded professionals and gain from their experiences and knowledge. LinkedIn is a great source that can be used to improve your network. Even Instagram and Facebook can be used for informal talks and to build relationships.

What is a Good Network ?


  • Mutual : Networking is beneficial only when it is with the right people. Like any good relationship, it should be mutually beneficial. Networking is a two-way street, so be prepared to offer support to your contacts when they reach out in need.

  • Be a good listener : A good professional networker actively listens and joins in.

  • Long Term : Focuses on creating long-term relationships with contacts rather than just for short term.

  • Requires attention : Like all relationships, your professional network requires attention. Communicate regularly, online or in person ; introduce people from your network(s) to each other ; organise informal events among yourself. The basic idea is to look after your network.

Benefits to Entrepreneurs

The benefits fell into two categories:

  • “Harder” benefits – Leads to customers, investors, partners, suppliers, employees and technical and market knowledge/information.

  • “Softer” benefits – Credibility/legitimacy, advice and problem solving, confidence and reassurance, motivation/inspiration, relaxation/interest.

Conclusion

Use networking as your benefit to the maximum. Develop proper communication, social skills to be used during important networking events. Also, don’t forget to start networkingfrom as early as possible. An overwhelming majority of successful people, when asked, say they owe their success to their networking skills. Your network can be vital to your professional success. A strong and expansive network gives you insight into trends as well as insider information on job openings and movement within the company.

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