To fast-track your professional growth, networking within your company is important. Yet, many neglect their workplace, which is the most accessible and potentially lucrative place,when focusing on networking opportunities.
Be it developing new skills, discovering opportunities for career advancement, ideating, brainstorming or finding solutions to complex problems, or offeringyour wisdom and point of view on a subject matter, at-work networking has a huge potential.
Here’s how you can go about it!
1.Put forward your creativity and originality
Whether you want to know about new roles and opportunities to learn new skills, need crucial information about mentorship, identify new business opportunities, or have your eyes set on getting a seat at the highest table, you must be noticed and heard.
For this, you should let your creativity and originality shine through and offer something that almost nobody in your niche does. Being part of the crowd would get you nowhere as you’ll be noticed by none and thus, will have far lesser networking opportunities.
2. Succeed in your present role
At-work networking becomes easier when you are recognized and remembered for delivering great work. This makes it important for you to be truly great in your present role.
This will not only offer you opportunities to meet key people in your area of specialty but could even make others in the organization recognize you as a star employee who they want to be associated with or may consider for a better role.
3. Use social media platforms
Using social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to connect with people whom you’ll probably meet every day at work may seem futile. However, it could be your ticket to be looped in on upcoming events, get useful and regular insights into the opinions of your superiors and colleagues, and probably get on the radar of more influential contacts.
4. Network extensively
Your workplace has a hierarchy, you should network both up and down the ladder to develop a wide range of contacts. Your superiors could become your mentors while your coworkers in support roles like assistants, administrators, etc. may bring in the most useful information (thanks to their extensive access).
Treating your juniors well and networking with them is equally important because you never know what information they can bring your way or what words they’ll share about you in the upper echelons of power. In case your organization doesn’t have a hierarchical pyramid and resembles a pancake instead, where power is in the hands of a few information brokers, you should seek them out for networking.
5. Act proactively to create networking opportunities
Do you need a colleague’s help (who’s in the design and development wing) to understand the new software?
Or are you just curious to know more about big data from the company’s in-house data scientist to understand how it will help in the company’s data-driven decision-making process?
Whether you want to educate yourself or learn certain things to position your career better, reaching out to people in other departments or branches could be a good way to broaden your network.
Once your colleagues start seeing you as a curious soul who’s interested in learning different aspects that support the organization bigger goals, they’ll be more receptive to your questions/requests and even willing to connect you to the right resources (people, books, online courses, etc.), which can help expand your network.
6. Get a mentor or BE a mentor
Depending on what you need and what appeals to you, you can do either. If your company has an in-house mentoring program, participating in it and getting yourself a mentor could be a good way to develop your leadership skills while expanding your network.
If there’s no such program, you can start one, which will not only let you give back to the company but even help develop its next line of leaders. Additionally, you’ll be able to get noticed by people higher up and network with them as they could help you in the future.
7. Have a focused and targeted approach
You should use a targeted approach to find people who are the right fit -for your career goals, social profile, or both. Once you’ve short-listed them, you should try to start a conversation after finding a common ground to get closer and build relationships. But it’s not wise to either talk endlessly and share irrelevant information or waste time on people who don’t want to connect with you. Work strategically and focus on the long-term picture to network not just with those who may seem useful right now but even those who could help you in the future.
Networking at work might seem slow in the initial days. You should invest time and effort to build your at-work networks and nurture them regularly. If you can do it, they’ll pay off generously in the long run and could even help you mitigate potentially difficult situations.