- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On February 4, 2014
Well, we’re now deep into 2014. It’s time to say goodbye to some of the old ways you did things in 2013, and welcome in a host of new ways to network in 2014. Take some stock of what was good and what was bad, and reassess as you prep for success.
Here are 3 tips to help your grow your network this year:
Get to Know Yourself
Finding out who you are as a person is the first step you need to grow your network. Not pinpointing where you need growth will cause delays in your success. Clarify what matters to you most, and focus on how you can manifest that growth. Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a professional and only begin action when you have a clear picture.
According to a study done by academic researcher Athena Vongalis-Macrow, and published in the Harvard Business Review, in spite of their many efforts, networking can be a challenge for women, and advises that they play on their internal strengths.
The study found that “[women’s] networking actions were ineffective in helping them achieve their aims.” So because women are naturally drawn to helping, simply supporting others and giving career advice doesn’t effectively showcase their work.
Whether this describes you as a woman OR a man (let’s be honest – men have issues networking as well), play on the opportunity to build a new model. In addition to helping others, provide support that showcases your talents and expertise. Try volunteering and becoming active to increase your visibility. By doing so you will be showing what you are capable of, which leads to greater opportunity.
The same study by Athena Vongalis-Macrow also found that only 14% of women collaborated on projects as a way to network and found that one woman in the study did not believe that she would garner direct benefit from it at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
In 2014, it’s time to jump head first into any valid opportunity to work together, especially across disciplines of departments (and genders). Collaboration is an incredibly powerful tool in showing your role in an organization, and has been shown as a very effective and important tool in networking. It allows you to show your strengths in a small window of time, and proves you have teamwork skills. Never underestimate these kind of opportunities.
The bottom line is, networking is an important means of connecting with those who will help grow your success. As a recent study says, “By articulating and sharing goals, learners create opportunities for interaction with others in their network (and beyond) who may share their goals.”
If you’d like more information on networking or how I can help you grow your network in 2014, feel free to contact me.