Building Professional And Social Networks

If you’re asking yourself how you can start and develop your networking skills, we’ve got some tips for you.

 

The most common suggestion by a lot of professionals is: PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! and SHAKE SOME HANDS! (Or, wait for the other person to offer their hand in today’s social climate) but you’re probably thinking to yourself – What have I got to offer a highly successful professional without any experience in the IT/ACC field? Where do, or should, I start?

As an intern, it can be very daunting to talk with those who have a lot more experience than you.

 

Open Communication

 

The most powerful behaviour that you can exhibit is to have open communication with everyone, particularly with your mentors and managers. Showing them that you have a positive ‘can do’ attitude and motivation to learn and take instructions, can help build that trust which is needed to solidify a ‘good’ reputation of yourself; one that may open up another professional relationship through referrals.

 

Make your social circle work for you

 

Other key areas to build your networks would be simply talking with friends and their friends (your social circle); friends share common interests and usually that is the same for careers. Spark up that conversation at your next social gathering.

Then move out of that close circle and chat with your current work colleagues/clients. You might be a cabbie/Uber driver. I’ve had some of the most insightful conversations about career and life with drivers. You might find out the person you’ve picked up for a fare is a CIO/CFO. Build that network!

 

Make volunteering work for you

 

Join a community-based volunteering organisation/initiative or sporting club such as cricket! I have made so many life-long friends/business relationships through cricket, and if I need someone to help me with that 3am billion-dollar app idea, I know which friends to turn to!

 

Make social media work for you

 

Use social media: LinkedIn/Facebook groups – you’d be surprised how many ‘big time’ professionals want to help out interns/juniors; those who want to give back and have a big heart, but remember, don’t be scared/put off by rejection. As hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky once said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Search for those who are established in the industry and see if they are holding any events that you can attend.  Once there, start making real connections and take the initiative; start to learn/practice ‘win-win’ interactions where both parties can benefit from the interaction. Everybody has something to offer!

 

The worst thing that can happen is they say no… but what if they say YES?!

 

 

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