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Blog: 5 biggest benefits of professional networking

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5 biggest benefits of professional networking

AKRON (Feb. 17, 2015) I never burn bridges. But I try to build them any time it’s possible.

The formula for success is about 20 percent what you know and about 80 percent whom you know. That’s why it’s so important to network and to make the most of the business contacts you come across during your career.

Let’s be honest, if you’re good at what you do, it will show. Your work will be done and done well. This blog is written from the assumption that you’re good at what you do. But it can get you noticed for being good in a job, and it can help you get a new or better job.

Advancement

One of the biggest benefits of networking is career advancement. If you are known within your field by others, you’re more likely to be considered if there’s an opening. You may also be considered if a company needs advice or consulting done.

Even if you’re happy and fulfilled in your current position, getting a call from someone you met a conference a year or two ago asking if you’re interested in a new job opportunity can make anyone feel good. And if you’re not fulfilled, then a new opportunity may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Think about the worst co-worker or boss you’ve ever had. Now imagine several years in the future, being in a position where they come to you looking for a job.

Leaving a bad impression on someone in a meeting or on a business trip or even in an email can have lasting impressions. You never know when you’ll need a business connection to help you take the next step in your career.

Advice

One of the benefits I’ve experienced more than any others because of networking is advice. I enjoy hearing about how other people become successful. I also like when people share their stories from their experiences and offer advice when I’m in a particularly hard situation.

I’ve gotten advice from strangers on airplanes who are in similar fields. I’ve gotten advice from employers and from peers in the same or similar fields. And I can remember each time I’ve gotten it and what each person suggested or advised. Those moments helped shape my career and who I am, regardless whether I took the suggestion or not.

Friendship

Another, more obvious benefit of networking, is friendship. Some of my greatest mentor relationships and friendships came from networking.

Some people have differing views of friendships in the workplace, or continuing a workplace friendship after leaving a career. But I’ve always figured if I’m going to spend so much time at work, then I want to be open to friendships with the people I surround myself at work each day.

And let’s be honest, if you’re in a stressful, challenging workplace, or if you’re unhappy where you’re working, a friendship or two can make long days feel shorter and can help keep you going when you’d otherwise want to give up. There’s a lot to be said for friendships at work.

And everyone needs a lunch buddy now and then.

Credibility

A lot of business leaders and managers are gravitating toward social media to help them gain credibility and become top influencers. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to have that kind of credibility?

But social media is only a small piece of networking. In order for a relationship to be long lasting and sincere, it should to be real. And in-person networking can help with that.

Talking about ideas and discussing your perspectives is always a great in person conversation with new networking contacts because you can have a more detailed, personal conversation.

Being known as an expert in your field and being recognized for what you do can help open doors to speaking engagements, opportunities and relationships with others in your field.

New Ideas

Ideas get stale. Going back to the same well over and over can mean you’re not bringing in new ideas as often as you should. That’s where networking benefits the situation.

Brainstorming and fresh perspectives is another great benefit of networking.

If you only stay within your circle of industry contacts, you’re missing a larger population of people. So attending industry events and talking to new people plays a huge role in getting new, innovative ideas.

Taking the time to reach out to people you’ve identified as key opinion leaders in your industry also is important. Making contact with those people and sharing ideas to improve your company — or your role at a company  — can help raise your profile and can help you make career moves.

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