Cheryl-Anne Sanderson, says reframing your approach to networking could reap more benefits than you realise.
We often hear how important it is to network, yet barriers always seem to be put in our way, these include:
- Not enough time
- Do I want to network?
- It's too formal and I'll feel out of place
- Operation deadlines
- Management/leadership that sees networking as a threat.
All the above in my view is just a myth or a perception. More often than not, there is time to do it you and you just need to make it happen. Networking shouldn’t be a have to do you should actually want to do it. If you're passionate about your industry and you want to do the right thing, not just for yourself but for the next generation of service leaders, then why wouldn’t you do it?
If you feel you need to change or adapt to the environment then change the scenery then surround yourself with a network who appreciate the version of you; who want to share your passion and drive; and wants to work with you in a collaborative manner. Networking doesn’t need to be formal and doesn’t need to cost money, for example, you could set up a local network instead of joining something corporate which can be costly in terms of travel etc. So while these networks are instrumental and essential to our industries, don't be put off by creating your own personal network; local to the businesses that you serve. You could even cross network across sectors - networking doesn't need to be the same people from the same industry - the magic happens when you bring creative minds from a diverse range of businesses together.
Don’t let the day-to-day of business as usual take over your life. We all deserve time away from the job and while networking could be seen as personal the majority of the time, the firms we represent also get the benefit of our appearance, so just be aware of this.
However, networking is great for our own wellbeing: sharing experiences and hearing people stories, knowing that the challenges you face are faced by others too can be really affirming. You can also collect great idea and tips that motivate you to do more; that makes you do your best; and you can share with your own team spreading the positivity amongst your colleagues.
Sharing is caring
So to sum up, I'd like to say sharing is caring. Networking within your industry is just another way of sharing, and most importantly: caring.