We all know the importance of having a good social and professional network. Networking is emphasized again and again in any business or career-related book or blog you read. Networking is important, but it has to be the right network. The concept of networking yourself is like driving a car. If you want to reach a place, you simply drive there; but, if you don’t have a destination in mind and start driving in any direction, you are only wasting your time. Networking has to be value-adding for it to be worth your time. Here’s how you can ensure the network you build is adding value:
1 – Identify Key Players
If you want a network that can give you an edge over your competition, you will need to fill your network with key players – people who have the power to influence others and promote you. Often, key players will be obvious. It is easy to see that you need to be in touch with people in upper management as well as people in executive positions. Formal and informal leaders at every level are valuable. Diversifying your network is one of the most valuable techniques you can use.
2 – Network Downward
The biggest mistake people make when networking is that they only attempt to network upward; i.e. with people who have larger responsibilities and designations than them. Exclusive upward networking is the easiest way to have a network that seems golden but is, in truth, ineffective. If you are in a bind or need a favor, are you going to call an executive in another company? Networking upward has great benefits for career growth, while networking downward has great knowledge and insider benefits.