When it comes to reaching out to a colleague or peer in the same working space as you, it is often viewed as networking. In today's continuously evolving world, finding a job and building a career is as much about who you know as it is about what you know. Having a diverse network gives you access to more opportunities, broadens the voices and perspectives you are welcoming into your life, and diminishes the power that any one person may hold over you and your choices. Having a diverse network in the workplace also satisfies our need for connection in one place where we spend most of our time.
If you're still unconvinced, here's an insightful look into the reasons that make networking a great skill to learn and practise at the workplace:
Relationships, belonging, and inclusion are the fundamental tenets that go a long way in improving a person's emotional health and well-being. A supportive working environment can often be the very thing needed to help someone sail through a tough time. Now that we have gone into the details of how networking at work benefits us let's see the ways you can start doing it right away!
Start small with the people you know: Start interacting more with the people you know or have to interact with every day. Not only will this help you develop your network-building skills in a safe environment, you never know the contacts you will gain from talking to the people who are closest to you.
Have a purpose or a goal: Start with something concrete. Set a goal or two for the next few months. Maybe identify one person to connect with per month or choose a few events that you can attend to broaden your connections. Be intentional about which individuals you want to communicate with and why.
Volunteer: A lot of people find it very intimidating to approach strangers and communicate with them. A way to conquer this fear is to find opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering in an event allows you to be there in an official capacity, with something constructive to do while creating an opportunity for you to meet and mingle with those present.
Have rewarding interactions: While interacting or communicating with a person, create an upbeat and positive atmosphere to feel valued.
Ask questions: Asking questions and listening attentively to the other person creates rewarding interactions. Prioritise getting to know the other person before talking about yourself.
Effective networking is critical for career success and for your success in social life. It is also a skill that you can take with you wherever you go, so start honing it for a brighter future.
(n.d.). Mind matters - Home. Relationships and Belonging. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://www.mindmatters.edu.au/docs/default-source/learning-module-documents/j4383_mm_modulesummary-1-4-relationships-and-belonging-v6.pdf?sfvrsn=0
Bigwood, S. (n.d.). A Global Professional Women's Network | Ellevate. Positive Relationships Reduce Stress At Work | Ellevate. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://www.ellevatenetwork.com/articles/5702-positive-relationships-reduce-stress-at-work
Orton, A. (2012, November ). Council of Europe. Building Migrants' Belonging Through Positive Interactions. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://www.coe.int/t/democracy/migration/Source/migration/EnglishMigrantBelongingWeb.pdf