Most of us must have heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and agree to it. However, do we really put this into practice and make efforts at building and expanding our social network just the way we put efforts in building our knowledge.

We have heard stories of the people (friends or family) who got great jobs through the recommendation of a friend or a relative. And you will find that this is quite common these days. The reality is that having a good and vast social network is as important as getting a degree in college. A strong network helps one in scaling one’s career. At school, we are given academic education but nobody teaches us how to build a vast social network.

In most of the organizations when a job opening comes up, the first step the company takes is asking its existing employees if they know someone who fits into the job profile. Hiring is no easy task for any company with no assurance of what they are going to get. But a reference from an existing employee is more likely to get the job.

Well, it would be no exaggeration to say that networking is very important. The bigger the network, the more access you have to opportunities.

The purposes of networking are to Meet new people- Maintain connections-Create opportunities- do something for somebody.

So while building your network, make sure when you talk to people, be engaged and build a rapport. It is not like you go to a party and start hunting for important people to talk to. It is quite offensive and rude. A good networker is someone who doesn’t make any assumptions and never judges a book by its cover.

Networking is an art! It is not about just talking to people and collecting lots of business cards. Networking has to be done in a subtle way. You must be a good conversationalist if you want to be a good networker. It is not about talking about business all the time. You need to show genuine interest in the other person and ask questions. It might result in developing a good rapport with that person and you can even learn something new from that person.

You can’t afford to be boring and then think of making a network. Be interesting, have many things to talk about, listen patiently to what other person has to say. Don’t just talk about yourself and your achievements as this can put all your efforts of networking in vain. In short is a person you would like to meet at a party.

Try to avoid talking about two topics- religion and politics unless both of you hold similar views. Never ask intimate details of their personal life, nor share yours.

Perfect places for networking
Although one can network at almost any place still there are certain places and certain times when networking can be very fruitful. Parties and social meetings are the best places to network. Join clubs and events where you have the permission to network. Try to avoid networking at events like funeral etc.
Some helpful tips for networking:

  1. Begin with a good introduction. It helps you establish your credentials. It should be simple, short and memorable.
  2. Address people by their name. It radiates a positive and friendly feeling. And in case you forget someone’s name don’t shy away from confessing and ask again.
  3. Be the first one to greet. Don’t wait for someone to greet you first.
  4. Be genuine. It will help you build a rapport with people.