Types of Networking

Types of Networking


In the age of connectivity, social networks and collaboration, no professional can afford to ignore the ecosystem in which he or she evolves. The relational resource, the collective resource is a richness that must be maintained and developed. It is from the exchange that the opportunities to progress will come. The feedback gleaned from meetings, the sharing of ideas, the inspiration, the serendipity... where else can you find all this if not by cultivating a quality relational network? The network is also a great way to recharge your batteries. The collective dynamic and the immersion in communities or events are all opportunities to recover precious energy. An energy that can fuel your professional adventure.

1. What kind of "networker" are you?

Everyone, without knowing, is networking and building a network. Some are more active than others. Having a "networking" strategy does not necessarily mean that you enjoy this aspect of your professional life. In fact, the basic attitude towards networking, and the value one places on it, differs profoundly from person to person. There are roughly three types of people:

  • The enthusiasts
  • The moderates
  • Purists

1.1 The enthusiasts

The passionate person likes to build relationships deeply, likes to show off, meet people, and is strategic in their approach. They understand the benefits of maintaining relationships with leaders, as well as with peers who can provide emotional support or participate in strategic information exchanges.

  • Networking is important to him and he has his "network strategy": he knows who to approach, when and why
  • In a new position, he quickly makes new contacts, both internal and external
  • He makes specific efforts to get closer to his contacts on a personal level (sports, meals...)
  • Doesn't hesitate to make valuable requests (recommendations, participation in a project...)
  • He knows how to influence successful subordinates to join his team
  • Networking is a shadow job

Passionate people are able to create and develop their network over the long term, to take advantage of it to progress faster in their careers. This profile is often valued for its passion and networking skills. Yet, may tend to be more concerned with its own survival and change of employers much more often than with the success of the company.

1.2 The Moderate

The moderate knows the importance of the networking process but is wary of its power. He prefers to build relationships directly related to ongoing activities and joint experience of his work, maintaining contacts once the task or mission is over.

  • His network owes much to luck, circumstance, and the people he has the opportunity to meet through work
  • Most of his network is directly related to his function, his projects, his department…
  • The most important contacts are his superiors
  • He seeks to recruit talented people for his team, and he communicates his choices but does not always succeed in getting who he wants
  • He feels uncomfortable when he has to build his network and when he has to approach "cold" people. In the long term, the network of moderates tends to stagnate or even shrink.

1.3 The Purist

The purist refuses to take part in this kind of practice, which he considers totally artificial and reserved for show-offs who are trying to climb the ladder. He prefers to rely on the recognition of his expertise rather than on networking. He maintains good relationships with his clients because he believes that it is through this that the quality of his work will be truly appreciated. He focuses on his team and the motivation of his collaborators.

  • Networking is considered artificial and false, he has no networking strategy
  • He does not attend events simply to network
  • It is not the network that counts but the results
  • His network is mainly composed of people he genuinely likes
  • He does not like to mix his internal and external contacts

Over time, the network of purists tends to wither away. They tend to be less integrated among their peers and may play a much less important role than expected given their skills.