Inside COMATCH

Six Key Benefits of Networking

  • Céline Nguyen
  • June 03, 2022

Something we often hear from consultants is that they dread networking. For some, this apprehension could stem from negative past experiences or common misconceptions about the networking process. 

Perhaps you also dread networking. You’re sick of having encounters with people who use networking for purely selfish and self-serving reasons. For example, this could be a former classmate who has never spoken to you before but wants to connect only so that you can introduce them to one of your contacts. But, what you might not realize is that this aversion to networking could negatively impact your effectiveness in building lasting networks.

When you network effectively, you will be able to build a supportive network of alliances around you that can help boost your job and business opportunities.

What Is Networking?

Ivan Misner, author, and founder of the largest networking organization globally, BNI, defines networking as a process where one develops and uses his network of contacts to increase and enhance business, expand influence, increase knowledge and information, and serve the community. In essence, good networking is all about giving. Therefore, you shouldn’t concentrate solely on the benefits you could open yourself up to when building your network but also on giving value to others. For example, you could give value to others by contributing ideas and tips that could allow their business to grow. 

Networking is all about building relationships. The idea is to create something solid and lasting without expecting anything in return directly. Therefore, you should also help contribute to the success of the contacts in your network not because you are seeking favors but because you have the mindset of connecting with others.

Networking is the new collaboration, and it comes with many benefits. Successful consultants who apply good networking tips and practices will get better at networking and reap the benefits with time.

Six Key Benefits of Networking

To succeed in networking and benefit from it, you need to see it as an opportunity. Every interaction is also a chance for success, and no consultant can succeed alone. You require the support of the right allies around you. Leveraging these people will help lead you to triumph.

Here are six networking benefits and tips to unlock those benefits.

1. New Contacts

The objective of networking is not to selfishly seek favors from others. On the contrary, having a vast and diverse network of contacts will open you up to opportunities. Furthermore, when your network of contacts expands, as an independent consultant, you gain access to business opportunities, personal growth, and career advancement.

Training opportunities, conferences, seminars, and business meetings can be great avenues for meeting new contacts. Online communities such as LinkedIn are also helpful to connect with like-minded contacts to add to your network.

2. Better Social Wellbeing And Health

Several studies have shown that social networks contribute to physical and mental wellbeing. For example, according to this Harvard Grant study, one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted, daily social interactions or forming solid relationships with people was the best predictor of long life and happiness. Therefore, networking is helpful for both your career and health. 

3. Boosted Self-Confidence

Increasing your investment in networking will help build your confidence when interacting with new people and will also allow you to network more successfully. This is one of the countless networking benefits independent consultants tell me they experience. 

While going to a networking event, have a positive mindset. People usually connect to positive people and are repelled by negative people. Go there to meet new people, build relationships and give while receiving psychological support from others. 

4. Better Information

The wider your networking circle, the more exposed you are to new ideas and information. Information is among the tools that help you get better at networking. At networking events, you can gather information and engage in brainstorming sessions that impart new ideas and perspectives.  

A networking tip for networking events is to prepare some relevant conversation starters. Attend such events with a clear goal in mind. Don’t fail to introduce yourself to people who are more experienced than you are. Get to know people. Don’t just tell them about yourself but ask them questions about themselves. As an independent consultant, you need to stand out. It is a competitive marketplace, so distinguish yourself. 

5. Improved Trust

 This is one of the networking benefits close to my heart. Mastering networking opens an independent consultant to the right people who trust them. It helps one build a strong network around them, which increases social and mental well-being. Gaining the trust of others is essential for any business. That is what mastering networking does. 

Some networking tips for gaining trust at networking events involve active listening, respect for other consultants, transparency, and low self-orientation. Networking and leading with trust go hand in hand. Moreover, it comes with a collateral effect of increased business success.

6. Additional Referrals and Recommendations 

According to a study published on LinkedIn, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. So it pays to learn how to get better at networking and even master it. This is because people usually buy from people they know and trust.

Suppose you meet another consultant at an event, and the two of you connect on LinkedIn. Every few months, you catch up over coffee. Then, a project comes up that they do not have the time for. However, because of the relationship that you have built together, they know you would have the skillset to succeed on the project. 

 Networking is essential for independent consultants to thrive. It opens up a lot of opportunities. This article has highlighted some of the benefits you can gain by mastering networking. But without question, you have to approach networking with the right mindset. Many people think of closing a deal when they want to network. Instead, the goal should be to offer help, give advice, connect, share ideas, and gain new contacts and information. In the long term, if you have this mindset, the benefits will come naturally.

To find out more about networking and relationship building, check out my course, ‘Networking & the Art of Super-Connecting’ here

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