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Ask Kirubi

Ask Kirubi: Networking 101

 

Ever heard of the phrase, ‘work until you do not have to introduce yourself’? Well, this is very much achievable but sadly very few pursue it.

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Many of us want to climb the corporate ladder but are not willing to go beyond their comfort zones to make this happen. You feel your line manager or boss will eventually recognize your hard work and promote you. However, how will they determine growth and intellectually capability if you do not interact with them?

The more you excel in your work the more you gain confidence. This helps you interact with co-workers and engage in conversations that benefit you and those around you. Networking is not about how many people you know or meet; it’s about what you know and how you use that information to build connections and eventually relationships.

This week I posted a message on my LinkedIn profile that caught the attention of Managing Director of PDSi Tech Services in Dubai, Dawn Metcalfe. Coincidentally, Dawn had written an article about the value of networking and shared it with me once she saw my update. I wrote, “I once read that networking is not about hunting. It’s about farming. You are expected to plant and cultivate your own garden not prune where you haven’t cultivated or simply, bag prey. Network with a purpose.”

Don’t go with an attitude of getting the most business cards and acquainting yourself with the crème de la crème of the corporate world. Humble yourself and get the best out of every networking opportunity.

I want you to tell me about yourself, what value you add in your current place of work and any other piece of information that will encourage me to speak to you. Information is key. You should constantly seek knowledge on a daily basis because it’s your greatest strength and the best weapon you can use.

Once you create those connections and continue to build relationships, you need to be able to sustain them for them to be of value to you. It could be sending your salutations via email, catching up over a drink or two (depending on relationship built) or merely sharing information that is of value more so to the other party. This is will ensure that ‘your network’ will keep you in mind or at the very least, remember you.

If you value your networks, then you must be in constant communication with them.

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So before you take your hunting skills to a networking gig, compose yourself. Cultivate your land so that when the time comes, you are carrying your produce with you and handing it out.

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