July 15, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

8 Networking Tips To Help Boost Your Career, According To Experts

Experts insist that networking is essential for career success. Regular online interaction with your professional network leads the way to possible job opportunities. A full 80% of professionals deem networking critical for success. Yet, despite the fact that people who actively network are 72% more likely to be promoted, one in four don’t take the time to network. Why? Many career climbers feel that initiating conversations with people they don’t know is daunting and exhausting. Networking starts with imperative connections in the workplace from the top down where there is clearly a disconnect.

The Importance of Top-Down Workplace Networking

A recent Betterworks study of 2,105 employees shows a widening perception gap between organizational leaders, employees and their managers. According to the report, “Disconnects in access to manager-employee conversations, feedback, development and goal management track with a tumble in outcomes like productivity, belonging and alignment—all of which directly impact performance.”

The Betterworks findings conclude that 40% of employees are not getting either conversations or feedback from management, and it’s crushing their growth. Overall, the human connection is the missing piece that hampers job engagement and productivity. The study noted five ways to boost network connections:

  1. Employees who receive one-on-one’s consistently are at least three times more likely to feel connected and supported in their work, skills and career development.
  2. Frequent manager conversations and peer feedback are game-changers for retention and productivity.
  3. Middle managers have enhanced support when leadership clarifies of their roles.
  4. Organizations overcome disconnections by empowering and supporting managers to coach on skills and employees to build skill development into their performance plans.
  5. Employees are more productive when they are able to set and accomplish goals in sync with their company’s goals.

The Dos And Don’ts Networking Guide

Experts at Wix.com shared a networking guide of eight dos and don’ts to help ambitious professionals elevate their game with coworkers, managers and a wider Internet platform.

1- Do be mindful of body language. The Wix.com experts suggest showing genuine interest in your conversation partner by avoiding closed body language like folded arms, hiding your hands or looking away mid-conversation. And they stress the importance of the power of a handshake. They mention that even brief human touch triggers the release of oxytocin—the ‘bonding hormone’, which promotes trust and mutual respect, adding that a firm handshake with eye contact indicates your readiness to connect.

2– Do ask thought leadership questions. “Engage your conversation partner by asking thought-provoking questions to demonstrate professionalism,” the experts advise. “Instead of closed-ended questions, try asking: ‘Have you noticed any recent changes in the industry?’, ‘Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?’ or ‘What’s the biggest challenge in your line of work?’” They underscore the fact that this not only showcases your knowledge but also encourages a deeper, more meaningful conversation, setting you apart as a thoughtful and passionate professional.

3- Do spruce up your LinkedIn profile. The experts stress the importance of making sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and polished to reinforce a strong, positive impression. That way, when you make new connections through networking, your profile will clearly reflect your goals, professional achievements and areas of expertise.

4– Do ditch the sales pitch and craft your elevator pitch. According to experts, networking isn’t about making a hard sell; it’s about building lasting relationships. They recommend, instead of telling people what you do, that you tell them why you do it. “Direct pitching can lead to meaningless connections that are a one-way street,” they insist. “Instead, have your 60-second elevator pitch ready and practice it privately or with a friend before networking events. A brief yet impactful introduction could spark conversations about how you can contribute.”

5- Don’t focus on quantity over quality. Experts emphasize avoiding what they call the “spaghetti against the wall” approach of randomly connecting with people and praying that something would stick. Instead, they recommend being strategic and focus on building a network that aligns with your career goals and ambitions, adding that you, “Invest your time on people who can offer valuable insights, mentorship or opportunities relevant to your professional aspirations to effectively bring your career to the next level.”

6- Don’t put people on pedestals. If feelings of inadequacy overwhelm you when you enter a space where high reputation, seasoned professionals gather, experts say to keep your chin up and don’t assume yourself to be inferior to others. “Remember, no one is ‘too good’ for you to engage with at a networking event; it’s all about being proactive and prepared,” they note.

7- Don’t forget to follow up. The experts remind us that we will probably return from a networking event with a stack of business cards. In that case they advise that we not simply stash them away. “The first 24 hours are crucial for reaching out to keep the conversation going,” they point out, suggesting that you, “Express gratitude, recap your conversations and propose next steps by asking, ‘Are there opportunities discussed at the event to follow up or areas where you could offer help based on their needs or interests?’”

8- Don’t only speak to people you know. The experts cite a study that over half of attendees chose to spend time with people they already knew, despite 95% of them expressing a desire to meet new contacts. “While it’s natural to gravitate towards those we are familiar and comfortable with, this inadvertently closes doors to new opportunities and innovative ideas,” they conclude. “Speaking with people from varied backgrounds will broaden our perspectives during networking.”