The Value of Networks
There have probably been many times in your life when you needed support, guidance, or references but didn’t know who to turn to. During these times, nothing is more valuable to you than a network of family, friends, and business associates.
A network is a group of people that you can turn to for your professional and personal needs. You may have several different networks—one for business, one for your personal life, one for community activities, etc.
Maybe you’re ready to look for a new job? Maybe you need some professional training to keep up with the advancements in your industry? Or, maybe you are new to a neighborhood and need recommendations for a doctor, dentist, or veterinarian?
You can’t put a price tag on the value of a network. The benefit of networks is that they are valuable for everyone who participates in them. You rely on the people within your network to help you, and in turn, you help them when they need it.
Spend some time thinking about the different types of people who would be beneficial to include in your networks. Start by brainstorming the people you already know and how they could contribute. Then determine how you can fill in the remaining gaps.
Here are some tips on how to build networks:
- Become a member of an association related to your field of work and attend the association-sponsored events.
- Take adult education classes related to your line of work and get to know the professors. Professors make excellent references and have a lot of connections themselves.
- Sign up for tradeshows, conferences, and seminars related to your career or a career field that you are interested in entering. You will have the opportunity to meet experts in the field and learn inside secrets about how they gained success.
- Join your company’s softball or volleyball team. If your company doesn’t already have one, start one yourself! This is a great way to meet other business professionals in a relaxed environment.
- Participate in your children’s school activities. You will not only be supporting your children, but you will get to know the teachers and parents of the other children as well.
- Attend community events and get to know local leaders. These leaders usually have an extensive knowledge of networking events and other influential leaders.
- Join a country club or gym and befriend other members. These members can introduce you to other members, as well as their own networks.
- Initiate neighborhood events such as block parties, garage sales, etc. You would be surprised how many people you can get to know and add to your network through these types of events.
When you build and utilize your networks, you will be building wonderful relationships. What may have originated as a business relationship could easily turn into a life-long friendship. So start building your networks today and let others know how you can be beneficial to their networks.
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