Why networking is key for your professional and personal development

Why networking is key for your professional and personal development

Helping you and your team grow your professional network is key to business development and growth. Expanding your personal reach and the reach of your firm beyond your existing clients is critical for long term business sustainability. It isn’t the full answer to business development, but it is a vitally important part.

Just pause and think how difficult it would be for you and your team to grow your firm if you didn’t ever meet anyone new. Think about how challenging business would be if you didn’t stay in contact with your existing network. Networking is one of the areas where you can plan and prepare to meet new people, and benefit from the random connection that turns into a great opportunity.

Networking will help you grow professionally and personally through that all important human connection. We are social animals, and as human beings and we like to part of a community and a group. We like to communicate, to learn from others and feel others are listening to us too.

The skills needed for networking are simple, the attitude and confidence your teams need can be a little more challenging.

How then do you help your team take a more proactive stance on networking?

Here are five things you can discuss with your team to highlight how important networking really is:

  1. Meeting new people and building relationships takes time, getting started today helps you get returns over a much longer period
  2. New opportunities come from networking. Think back to some of your own clients, learning, or connections. How many of these came from your personal network or networking you did earlier in your own career
  3. Networking can open you up to diverse ideas and new perspectives. These broader perspectives allow you to have more rounded conversations with your clients and potential clients
  4. Networking can help build a group of people who know you, trust you and can refer you to their own network. Keeping in contact with your network keeps you forefront of their mind when opportunities arise
  5. Starting with who you already know. Networking should be a mix of people you already know and new people to meet. The best networkers seek out new people and develop existing relationships

Thinking about the last point, this is very often a simple and really productive place to start. Working with some business owners recently, one person challenged themselves to phone 10 people just for a catch up and to reconnect (this is a great approach to take). Their feedback? They had 7 conversations, 4 resulted in a follow up and one major contract to be started in the next 2 months. This didn’t happen by accident. Planning in regular networking is key to raise you and your firm’s profile with your network and within networking groups.

Remember to have a conversation about the confidence and skills when it comes to networking. Understanding why networking is key is a starting point, how this is then translated into activity is critical. How can you make it easier for yourself and your team will convert your great intentions into great outcomes.

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