You asked: Does networking really work?

Chirantan Joshi-National Director, Corporate Connections UAE

Does networking actually work?

Yes, it does. It’s important here to understand what Is meant by networking. It is any opportunity where you get to build the relationships with other people, and building relationships take time and effort. As long as we are ready to put in both, networking works. If you are looking for a quick gain, then networking benefits may be short lived.

What are some questions that could get you started at a network event, or even a work event?

People love talking about themselves hence asking questions which give them opportunities to tell their stories is a good start.

Questions like: What do you love the most about what you do? How did you get into this line of business? What is the one thing that differentiates you from your competitors? Keep the focus on them. And this works because they remember you for asking these questions that make them talk.

Do you think that networking could actually help individuals achieve certain things in their careers? (new business, a promotion etc.)

Yes, it helps to know more people. And more importantly to know people who know other people. When you go in with an open mind, knowing that building relationships take time and effort, and when you are ready to put their interest before yours, it will work. You will pick up leads, get rereferrals and new business. In an organization it improves your visibility and access to senior management which is important for recognition and reward.

What are some tips to growing your network?

The most important thing is to keep in touch after the first contact. Always look for an opportunity to help them connect with what they are looking for. Having a calendar to regularly attend different networking opportunities can help expand your connections.

Most people file away the business card after the first meeting. Read my blog on what to do next.

Why do some people think that networking is the evil of all evils? (as in so much work and so tiring, you always have to be “on”)

Networking may be seen as an evil if you are not genuine about building relationships and looking for quick gains. Networking is fun and fruitful if you enjoy meeting people, hearing their stories, helping them out and hope for reciprocal gains. It has received a bad names because of the commercial meet-ups and speed-networking. Make it a way of life, and see how the benefits surpass the effort.

What are the benefits of a large network?

Larger your network, lesser the effort and larger the benefits. From my experience, as our network grows, the opportunities grow exponentially. Metcalfe’s Law states that effect of a telecom network expands at a rate equal to the square of connected nodes (users) of the system. This is also known as the Multiplier Effect.

The benefits are not just from the people you know, but also from the people that your group knows. If our primary contact relationship is strong, we will benefit from their contacts too. In my blog on the Power of Infinite network I discuss this phenomenon.