When most people hear the word “networking” they think of stuffy cocktail parties with people in suits handing out business cards, trying to find new clients. Although that can happen when networking, that’s not what networking means. In a nutshell, networking simply means “meeting new people.”
We run into new people everywhere – attending your child’s game, taking your car to the mechanic, going to the gym. All of these events are opportunities to network. But networking is not just about getting more work for your business. The best networking occurs when you’re generally interested in meeting new people, learning about them, learning something new from them, and thinking, “What can I do for them?”
The advantages of business networking are different from community networking, but both are important for your ultimate success.
Networking in a business environment has several important benefits: you grow your skill set by getting to know others in your own field; you stay on top of industry trends and can have a direct impact on your industry; you uncover new opportunities, meet potential mentors, and make new friends.
Some of the best ways to grow professionally include joining your local chamber of commerce, a community service organization, or local networking organization. These groups each have their own benefits, but by joining a membership group in your industry, you grow specifically in knowledge of your field, which makes you more valuable and sets you up for greater success.
PSTAP provides important opportunities for our members:
- With nine chapters throughout the state, you have the opportunity to interact with others in your field, share ideas, learn what works for them, and meet possible mentors and friends. Our monthly chapter meetings combine a casual dinner with earning 2-4 CPE hours.
- Members can post questions to our Email Discussion Group, share information, get advice, and find out about breaking news affecting the industry.
- Volunteer and leadership roles allow you more opportunities to hone your skills, interact with fellow professionals, and develop expertise.
Networking outside of business also has important benefits: you learn about other industries or circumstances outside your industry, opening you up to new opportunities; you again make new friends, who in turn may know someone who needs your services.
Connect in your community through events or groups that interest you. Joining a 5K to fight diabetes, volunteering to tutor needy children, or coaching Little League provides opportunities of fulfillment while helping you give back. When people see you involved in your own community and helping others, you become a trusted resource.
In a Nutshell
Networking well is about two things: 1) Growing your skills and knowledge base so you can provide ever-improving service, and 2) Developing a positive relationship with many people so that when they need someone, they think of you.