We all have busy lives, chaotic schedules and (let’s be real) a need for sleep. It makes finding time for new things, difficult. Learning to manage time more effectively is one way to be successful. Activities that kill two birds with one stone are worth investing in. Networking is an easy way to improve business and personal success. The Startup gave 9 benefits of networking in business, here are 5 favorites:
1. Get Free Advice & Problem Solving Solutions
Have an issue at work? Come to a networking group and talk to other professionals. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to ask for a raise or struggling to find a new email software solution, providing advice to other professionals is fundamental to every networking group. The aim is to connect professionals so they can work together and in turn, become more successful. Surround yourself with diverse professionals to expose yourself to new types of thinking and solutions. Stop banging your head against the wall - get to a networking group and find new advice.
2. Make Yourself an Investment
Take for example this scenario: your company is going to sponsor a half marathon runner, who is a better investment? Ben who has been training 3x a week for 6 months, or Tami who used to run cross country in college and believes that running is “just in her.” Ben is the correct answer. I don’t doubt Tami’s ability, but he just seems better prepared. Networking groups are a way to train your professional self outside of work, so to speak. Aligning yourself with a networking group will help you refine ideas, meet mentors, and learn new things (the list goes on). All of this translates to new opportunities for growth. And like an investment, the more time you invest the better the outcome. You may want to find a group to attend regularly; most find that the more they attend the same group, the greater their gain is.
3. Create Connections and Opportunities
It’s the 21st century and most of us have LinkedIn to stay connected. Liking posts and commenting on job updates is one way to keep in touch, but I’m here to tell you that is not enough. Let’s step out from behind the computer screen to engage with others. Arizona happens to be a transplant state with a great economy. Professionals move here from all over the country and they're buzzing with ideas, ready to connect and make relationships. Connecting with someone in person provides more benefit than connecting online. According to NBC, research shows being around other people will make you happier. Networking is an easy way to be both social and expand your business connections and knowledge.
4. Friendships and Referrals
Try sticking around for a change, and go back to the same group a few times before you give up. Each event is different, maybe the venue has changed, the people or discussion may be more engaging, etc. Coming back a second or third time will help your entire experience. The longer you invest time with specific groups the deeper your connections will grow. You will not only meet new people and receive helpful recommendations but can also make friends. It can be hard to make friends as adults, especially if you move somewhere new. Try out a networking group (a few times). One thing about relationships known to be true is that it takes time to build great ones, keep coming back!
5. Increased Confidence
The more we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations the more comfortable we will (hopefully) feel in discomfort. Attending events regularly will allow you to push yourself to talk to different people and increase your confidence. Confidence is like a disease - once you feel it, it spreads to other areas of your life. It can give new color to your thoughts, actions and ideas for business or personal goals.
With every additional time commitment, it’s natural to want to weigh the options. These are just a few of the benefits networking can add to your professional and personal life. You really won’t know until you take action and check it out for yourself!