Understanding The Importance Of Networking

Understanding The Importance Of Networking

As a business or career-oriented person, you cannot work alone. In the years you’ll spend doing business, you will need a different calibre of people to walk with you in attaining your goals. You must understand that men are gatekeepers and if you try to enter any gates on your own without assistance, you will only discover how challenging the gate to success is.

This is why you need to cultivate relationships with a wide network of people in different facets of life and this process of meeting and getting to these people is called networking.

Your phone contact list does not contain only your family contacts. If it does, then you need serious networking. You could have already been networking consciously or unconsciously but this article aims to help you understand the importance of your networks to your success. In the end, you could decide if you need to put more effort into your networking.


Who Are Your Networks?

They are basically people you know, have met, or have formed a relationship with. They comprise your family, friends, acquaintance, colleagues, mentors, supervisors, people with the same goal as you, people in the same industry, people in the opposite industry, and many others.

Your networks are not strangers. Some networks can become strained or distant, usually because of lack of communication, distrust, or misunderstandings but they are not strangers. A stranger can grow to become a network in time. To get the best of your networks, you must consciously feed and cultivate these relationships. It’s like a seed planted. If you want to reap good harvests, you must water, weed, and feed them.


Importance of Networking

  1. Networking Provides Opportunities: The more people you know or can form a relationship with, the more opportunities you’ll have in that area. They don’t have to be from your sphere but they form your circle. Some will become stems you’ll need to branch out.

Your networks who you should have made aware of your desires will immediately tell you when an opportunity in line with it is available. This opportunity can come through an in-house announcement, an ad they have seen, word of mouth, etc.

There’s one thing you must note- The first people you should prove yourself to is your networks because they will not offer you all opportunities that come their way but the ones they think or are sure you can handle or are fit for.


  1. Networking Provides Mentorship: Mentorship is the process of teaching and counseling another. You might be surprised to know that not everybody believes in mentorship, that process of submitting to learn. Mentorship can be done in different ways, but its strategy is the same- to pass experience and knowledge to another.

Some of your networks can be your mentors, this way you have access to their experiences. Staying “close” to them (not necessarily physically close) keeps you at top of their minds and they can offer solicited and unsolicited advice on your next steps.


  1. Networking Limit Errors: When the knowledge and experiences of your networks become available to you, you do not need to make the same unnecessary errors they did as they plied that path you are on. You will be able to get updated information on what to do quickly and faster.

The path to greatness and domination in whatever career you have chosen does not come easy and no man has all the knowledge for himself alone. Networking brings you close to seniors in the game you are playing or peers a step further from you. Their advice can become so important. For instance, an aunt that had a hard time finding capital, an acquaintance who is a final year law student. They can guide you step by step, preventing you from making the errors they did and are now able to foresee.


  1. Visibility: Not minding how good a product is, it can never reach its full potential if it stays hidden.  People need to be aware of it for it he successful. That’s the logic behind advertisements. The aim is to put a product at the top of the mind of its customers. That way, even if they do not need it yet when they do, they can go for that product immediately.

A product may not necessarily be a thing, it could be a person too. Networking can provide that kind of visibility. Since you have been able to keep in touch with the right person, a word from them can set your career going.


  1. Improved Client Base: Your networks can also make up a part of your client base. The public will usually measure value by how much followership it can garner. Your networks can first be your clients themselves, some might be its “publishers”, adding an extra voice to your business on their social media pages while others can draw the attention of the public to your goods.

For instance, Ghanian dental surgeon, Louisa Ansong was otherwise local until a picture surfaced on Instagram of her and Wizkid. It does not take a lot of calculations to know that his fans and curious people would soon be googling her, trying to find more about her. In the background too, a lot of connections are a result of good networking.


  1. Access to Exclusive Information: There is some information you will never be able to get unless through your networks simply because you cannot be everywhere. Some information is also kept in-house and many roles have been filled based on referrals alone.

A company can decide it needs a new social media manager and throw it open to its employees or top employees as it sees fit who will then reach out to any they have in mind and trust can do well in that position. The next thing, CVs are reviewed, interviews done and someone has a new role.


  1. Networking Reduces Stress: Some persons have given up too early when faced with the challenges of their goals. No one should have to work through that alone. Your networks make things easier for you. The teachings, counsellings, nudges, and rebukes, all add up to prevent what could have otherwise been ghastly.

The burden is shared amongst you. A friend can send you a link to apply for your dream job at Unilever. This same friend can give you inside info on what should be included or not included in your CV, review your cover letter, etc.

A friend can give you his project or thesis, so you can use it as a guide since they are so similar. Also, there are some names or positions that when they appear on your CV will open doors for you.


  1. Networking Breeds Exposure: Every one of us grew up in different environments but as we network, we begin to note attitudes that are inconsistent with our visions. Some persons never dared to dream too big until they met other peculiar characters that motivated them. Through networking, we also learn better attitudes, skills, knowledge, and its application too.

There’s a very popular saying, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. You can meet a man in the slums but because of the networking, to whom he has exposed himself, his thinking will be different. It’s the same thing that happens in the higher institutions of learning, no one goes there and leaves the same way they came.


  1. Overall Growth and Support: Though your networks can span a large sphere of people, what is common with all of them is that they support you and are willing to help you grow. They don’t have to be from the same industry or same goals as you or even offer the same thing.

While some will have financial support to offer you, others will be physical, mental, and so on. None should be taken lightly. Your overall growth is what is needful.


What Networking Is Not

  1. Networking is not an Opportunity to be Lazy: You have seen the huge benefits of making and preserving the right network. This is not a call to laziness.

You will need to put in a lot of effort on your own. They are there to make the process “easier” not already made. Remember what we said, you will need to prove your desire, ability, and willingness to your networks first with hard evidence until they believe you and can champion your cause. The reason is if they champion a mediocre, your failure in that position is also theirs too. It dilutes the power of their “word” or reference.


  1. It Is Not an Opportunity for Eye Service: You are not to be found groveling at the feet of experts. Doing this is means something completely different from what networking is. Networking is mutual. You should have something to offer. Decide what your product is and push for your value. If you decide to stay at the feet of the greater persons, you may never be able to rise above them.


  1. It is Not an Opportunity to Use People: Networking is not a platform to practice how to use people. Networking is built on trust. It starts as an ordinary relationship but as interactions continue, it cannot proceed except on trust and friendship. This is what you should offer too.


  1. You Should Not be Parasitic: Parasitism is a relationship in which only one person is benefiting while the other is harmed. In networking, you have something to offer too, don’t say you don’t! You are also somebody’s help and that opportunity to make yourself useful or valuable to them may present itself in various means. You should be able to decipher it and offer solutions.

Don’t be selfish or envious that you decide not to help your networks. Some may go as far as hoarding opportunities or pretending to still be down when they have been lifted already, all in a bid to squeeze every drop of opportunity from their networks and then abandon them.


  1. Networking is Not a Competition: Quite simply, you should understand that people progress at different rates and in accordance with their skills. Though, a healthy competition where you are motivated by another’s success is allowed.

The Importance of networking cannot be overemphasized. If you have not been taking it seriously or taking advantage of it, you should from now begin to do so.

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