We spoke to Gwen Rhys, founder of City Women and Networking Culture to provide us with some tips on Networking. Gwen has extensive experience in Networking and runs her own consultancy Networking Culture.
Networking is important, says business networking expert Gwen Rhys. But pounding the flesh over a few limp canapés isnt enough on its own.
Research undertaken at INSEAD and reported in the Harvard Business Review in 2007 revealed that successful leaders have a nose for opportunity and a knack for knowing whom to tap to get things done.
These qualities, it was revealed, depend on a set of strategic networking skills that non-leaders rarely possess.
If you want to be a leader, networking is imperative. And even if you dont want to be a leader, but want to keep your job in the current climate, networking is a good idea.
The greatest peril of all is therefore not networking. However, accepting that networking is a good thing, there are a few things that you need to avoid if want to maximize your efforts.
And they are:
Believing its a numbers game
Effective networkers think quality, not quantity. Building and nurturing meaningful relationships with 20 valuable and influential people pays bigger dividends than having 200 so-called friends on a social-networking site.
Schmoozing the room
Effective networkers know that being in the right room is what really matters. Meeting a friend in a coffee shop or bringing together some of your own network for an informal lunch, sharing goals, needs and wants and thinking about how you can each help one another often reaps more rewards than attending typical networking events. Be genuinely interested in others and put and bring people together for mutual advantage.
Forgetting that its about who knows you
Effective networkers recognise that its not always about who you know. Being on the radar of those who influence your career is what counts. Volunteer for image and profile enhancing activities and influence those you want to reach.
Confusing importance with influence
Effective networkers know its not always possible to connect directly with important people (eg senior managers) and that they arent necessarily the most useful people. Instead, build relationships with influencers, such as PAs, who are easier to approach.
Staying within ones comfort zone
Effective networkers, like most people, can feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings and/or when meeting others for the first time. Grasp such challenges and through careful preparation, watching and listening you will maximise opportunities as they arise.
To enhance your networking skills visit www.gwenrhys.com