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Art of Networking

Networking – A strong tool for Development

To me, Networking word indicates spreading a net around you where in you catch the right kind of people and sources and utilizing them for mutual benefit. In any profession, one will need right kind of resources and connections to get the things done. This resources and connections may be in forms of people, organisation, agency or any other thing that can help accomplish the mission.

The need for Networking with right resources is felt and perhaps, and that is the reason for the growing networking sites and online groups that bring together the people of similar interest.

However, doing effective Networking requires spending efforts. Following are some of the tips to help you network better.

1. Know your targets – Always, keep in mind your requirement and interest before networking. Networking has to be have atleast one common interest between you and your potential networking target. It may be hobby, profession, interest or anything which you and your target share in common.

2. Consider your target’s opinion as well – Like one sided love affairs, Networking can’t work because you want to network with others. You MUST consider others’ wish as well and only if they agree, you can network with them. Remember, you can’t impose your wiliness to network to others.

 3. Take right Initiative – Once, you have your targets in mind, second step towards networking is to initiate your efforts. Ideally, you may introduce yourself to other (your target for networking) and express your interest that you would be interested in benefiting form the interactions with them (your target) and hence, you would like to network. Also remember; politely seek their permission for doing so.

4. Take right approach РIn the most likely scenario, your target group would be not so familiar to you. (Had you known them well, you would have already networked..ļ). The most effective approach is to first write them introducing yourself and the purpose (networking) for writing them. Remember, directly calling your networking target may not be welcomed in the first instance. Once, you have comfortable relationship, then you can gradually move to personal calls.

5. Give and Take – Networking would be more effective, if you follow “give and take” approach. You should try to contribute to the networking relations and at the same time you can seek information. Only asking for information may lead to make your networking partner disinterested in your networking efforts.

6. Be effective in your communication - Further, instead of bluntly asking “I am looking for XYZ thing…can you please help?” you may try to first do some background research and then ask for their advise. It could sound like “I have been trying to do so and I have done so (narrate briefly your understanding of the subject)…however, I thought, if you could also share your expertise on the subject matter, it would benefit me”. This kind of communication tends to be more effective and has higher probability of the other person responding to you.

7. Make yourself visible – If you are part of any group, fraternity or association for networking purpose, try to make yourself more visible. Just being part of the networking fraternity doesn’t help…your active participation is a must for others to notice you. If you have wider visibility, its easier for you to network.

8. Keep in constant touch – Last but not least, try to be in constant touch with your networking group. Once you enter into a networking relationship, don’t think, your networking efforts are working well. In certain cases, I have witnessed that after entering into networking, people don’t interact for years. This is dormant nature of networking and doesn’t help much. Even if you don’t have any subject to discuss, dropping few lines to your networked people will keep your memories afresh in their minds.

I am sure, with these simple and systematic steps, we all can build a very effective networking skill and enter into a more meaningful networking relationship.

Author : Mehul Pandya

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