About a week ago we had a radio talk show ‘The Professional’ on Dream 92.5 fm Enugu on what newtworking in the 21st century represents for working individuals and professionals. Watch this space as we will soon start a weekly podcast on here to share the discussions that go on each week on the radio talk show.
Who is a Professional
In various contexts you see a professional being defined as one who is adept at his work, someone who has chosen a specific occupation or line of work or a member of a profession or body of professionals in a specific niche of work.
So in essence a professional is someone who has chosen a particular occupation and who gives that line of work he has chosen some considerable amount of his time and efforts. Naturally the professional should progress and grow in that line of occupation.
What is Networking
Taking from the analogy of computer networks networking in the professional relations sense is certainly the establishment of contacts with people in similar, or even non-similar occupations who may or may not be considered important in the achievement of certain professional goals on an individual’s part.
Networking serves a lot of purposes depending on the goal of the professional and can include helping in areas such as job search, business development, sales, career advancement etc. Virtually everybody needs to have useful networks as hardly anyone can get all what they need to achieve business or career goals alone.
Networking with Purpose
Define the criteria for your professional network. This helps you distill who and who you should target in building up your network. Categorise your intended professional network; for instance as an entrepreneur in the internet sector I might want to build the segments of my network to include; Successful Entrepreneurs/Mentors, Developers/Programmers, Consultants (legal, finance/accounting), Media (bloggers, journalists) and so on.
Business development persons for example will have an idea of potential people they should be making introductions with and getting to know with an eye for future business pursuits. Good networkers do not however make it obvious that they are building contact or connections with a selfish goal in mind.
Networking Quality vs Quantity
Is it more important to have a wide network with very less connections and even less quality or to build and sustain a small network with solid bonds and very high value individuals?
This could be either yes or no depending on who you ask and the aim of the individual building a network.
However having a high quality network even if low in quantity will invariably serve the professional better. Your high quality network can be of help introducing other high quality individuals to you when you need something outside their domain of knowledge or expertise.
The Best Time to Start Networking
If you are just starting now to network you are probably late. The best time to start networking was yesterday.
Networking from the Point of Value
You should from day one have the mindset to bring something of value to the table as you build your network.Everyone in your network should have respect for you for what you can bring in terms of quality ideas, passion and energy.
You don’t want to be seen as the guy who only gets in touch when he has an issue he needs help on. Take the initiative and genuinely try to help people in your network when possible or when they bring issues up.
In the end as the world gets more digitally connected and you can easily have Korean, Brazilian and Indian contacts in your network the value you bring and the quality of your network becomes more important.
Soon it would be true that your network becomes your networth.
If you want to get job offers that match your interest and current skills join Ngcareers and create a career profile.21st Century Networking Tips for Professionals by Paul