Make networking part of your lifestyle says Chi Chi Okezie

As hardworking and dedicated administrative professionals, you have an idea of the benefits of networking.  At its core, networking is a means of building quality relationships and advancing in your career.  When networking is done properly, it opens endless doors of opportunities. I would like to encourage you to make networking part of your lifestyle and a staple in your development.

Networking Builds Professionalism

Networking is an excellent tool for building your professionalism.  It allows you to create an elevator pitch and improves your verbal skills.  When having conversations with your colleagues, you are strengthening your listening and cognitive skills.  If you join a formal networking group, this adds accountability in your networking endeavors.  You can connect with like-minded individuals, attend events and learn more about your industry. Interacting in these settings heightens your awareness for building a quality personal (professional) brand as well as being a good representation of your business, company or community.

Think about these questions the next time you attend an event (virtually or in person):

  • Am I projecting the right image that aligns with my career / industry?
  • Am I taking full advantage of opportunities to properly connect and build relations?
  • Am I “showing up” and adding value to my networks?

Networking Builds Marketability

Whether you are in transition, wanting to learn a new skill, or comfortable in your career, networking is a great avenue for marketing yourself.  It permits you to soft sell, promote and bring awareness to your goals, initiatives and skills.  Being able to successfully market yourself allows your counterparts to learn more about you, deepening the relationship.  Your counterparts can use this knowledge about you to introduce, refer and sponsor you.  This adds a sense of credibility which leads to trust.  There are great ways to market yourself on and offline.  Start with your resume, online profile / bio, virtual / hard copy business cards, email signatures.  It is perfectly OK to toot your own horn and share your accomplishments.  They are accolades which are worth celebrating.

Think about these questions regarding how you can actively market yourself:

  • What achievements can I share for building my credibility with others?
  • What skills do I have which are valuable for others to know about me?
  • How can I promote myself in productive and viable ways?

Networking Builds Communication

When you are networking, you can communicate your goals, initiatives and needs to your networks.  It is a means for bringing attention to noteworthy causes, garnering support for programs and letting others know how they can get involved.  It is also a method of sharing information, knowledge and resources.  As an administrative professional, you have the opportunity of using networking to express your needs as well as the needs of others.  You can create a platform for honest, effective and efficient communication.

Think about these questions as you communicate while networking:

  • What information can I share to help benefit others?
  • How can I become useful to others by developing understanding on various issues?
  • What are ways that I can continue to assist others and vice-versa?

    Networking Builds Community

    Finally, networking is an incredible platform for building community.  Whether online or offline, you have the chance to connect, share, develop and grow.  This gives you the ability to use your emotional intelligence and soft skills.  Being in these settings and environments enriches empathy, understanding, appreciation and respect. Networking also enables you to integrate different aspects of your life such as your career, hobbies, business, training and social activities.

    While establishing community reflect on the aspects below:

    • Connecting with others broadens my scope and perspectives.
    • Sharing with others positions me to add value and receive value.
    • My role in this group is a working piece to its success and longevity.

    Constructing networks and fostering relations are important elements of advancement and success.  Networking has a plethora of benefits and knowing its significance brings greater intentionality and allows you to leverage and take full advantage of favorable circumstances.  Make it a point to be intentional and focused in your networking, keeping these benefits top of mind.

    Chi Chi Okezie is the owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC, a consulting firm based in Metro Atlanta, GA, USA which specializes in business networking, diversity and inclusion. Her company was granted a Proclamation for Business Networking Day by ... (Read More)

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