Develop networking skills and assist your collaborators in networking

Develop networking skills and assist your collaborators in networking

1. Learn how to network

Don't like to network? Don't worry, you're not alone! Many professionals feel like they are playing a game that sounds fake. So how do you go about it?

1.1 A learning opportunity rather than a chore

You can learn to change the way you look at networking. Imagine that you feel obliged to go to a work function, and you say to yourself "I hate these kinds of events, I'll have to pretend to be comfortable there". You can change your mindset by saying to yourself, "Who knows, it might be interesting, sometimes a conversation can generate new ideas and create new opportunities." By focusing on the positive, this activity will start to feel much more useful.

1.2 Identify common interests

Ask yourself how your interests and goals align with those of the people you will be meeting (or want to meet), and how this can help you build important working relationships.

1.3 Be clear about what you can offer

People who believe they have too little to offer are the least likely to engage in networking. Most individuals tend to underestimate the resources they have that may be of interest to others. We tend to focus on tangible things and ignore the fact that we can offer things like gratitude, and appreciation (expressed sincerely). Perhaps you have unique knowledge that can be useful to those you wish to include in your network: expertise, generational trends, new technologies... When we have a lot to offer others, sound advice, access to resources... Networking seems easier and less focused on self-promotion.

1.4 Find a higher purpose

Looking at networking with a higher purpose (e.g. helping my clients, supporting my business) rather than a personal benefit (boosting my career) makes networking feel more authentic, less "dirty" and more appealing.

1.5 Get out of your comfort zone

The best way to get out of your comfort zone is to take on regular challenges, face the beliefs and emotions that hinder you, and discover new talents. A good exercise to progress: learn to "pitch", that is to say, to present your project, to introduce yourself, attractively and convincingly, in a maximum of two minutes. This shows that you have a good command of your subject.

2. Help your collaborators to network

Given these differences in profiles, how can you as a leader or manager help your employees to access and make good use of the knowledge and support related to networking?

2.1 Purists

  • You can help purists, who are generally reluctant to network, to connect with the people they need to pass on their knowledge and resources by referring to certain people or by sharing your own "social capital.
  • By looking at the expertise of the people around them, purists can identify areas where it would make sense to connect people who can help each other.

2.2 Passionate

  • Beware of the people skills of passionate people, those dynamic personalities who like to show off, sometimes implementing Machiavellian tactics, more concerned with their own survival than the success of their business. Don't underestimate the risk of seeing those who flit about within their large internal and external networks leave.

2.3 Moderates

  • Give moderates visibility, creating opportunities for them to join cross-functional teams or participate in multi-disciplinary projects.
  • Organise social events that allow moderates to connect with colleagues from different teams.
  • Offer liaison or representative positions for their team or department, secondments to other offices, assignments to key client accounts, or internal job rotations.
  • Cover a portion of the membership fees for professional associations. Moderates, who are particularly well integrated within their department or trade, will bring the benefits of the relationships they create to their entire network.