On average in France, women have 50 people in their networks and men have 72 people. A survey conducted by HEC Management School revealed these figures a few days ago. These are rather small numbers when you think that this activity is essential for the success of any career.
For 59% of executives, networking requires learning and technology. More than one in two believe that maintaining a network requires considerable efforts. And 73% of them do not think they have the time to build up a good network. From my own experience, the art of networking is far from being superficial, it is a quick to learn activity and the cost is low. But the relationships you will have created will be dear throughout your entire life.
These are basic principles of the Art of Networking:
- Win-win philosophy, networking does not mean “selling”.
- Good listening and questioning skills.
- Clear communication, a good understanding of the people you want to meet, proper use of the media and language.
- Straight profile, you need to be able to tell who you are and what you do in a few words.
- Promises kept, which means being realistic about what you can offer.
- Regular contacts, with a quick message from time to time.
Contrary to common beliefs, networking does not mean going out every night. You can include this activity in your daily lives in a simple manner. Digital tools, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Meet-ups for instance make it easy for you to develop your network. Just show a little creativity.
Any job is a combination of needs and solutions. Your network will play an instrumental role in getting things done in this complex world. Develop new bonds outside your traditional circles and you will be able to access ideas that may not be part of your natural groups’ thinking.