Networking. That’s that thing you do when you’re looking for a job, right?
While networking as-part-of-a-job hunt is a good strategy, networking in any circumstance should be one of your daily habits–like, brushing your teeth.
And as a communications professional, it’s particularly important that networking be your practice each and every day.
Often, people look to external events for networking purposes. Professional association conferences and unconferences. Training seminars and workshops. Sure, these events are great opportunities to meet and make connections with new people.
Focusing exclusively on the external, however, is missing out on networking possibilities that are accessible to you right now. That is, nurturing your network inside your organization. Your internal network is an effective way to (1) create greater value for your company, and (2) grow in your career.
Let’s unpack those two notions.
Create Greater Value
By networking inside your organization, you learn about what’s happening now–the business trends, sales wins, employee programs, apps and technologies, challenges, etc. This in turn enables you to use your communication skills to connect dots that others might not see–that’s creating greater value.
Yet, there’s another benefit to you as a communications professional. Your internal network also enables you to research effective communications, gaining further insight into how co-workers and colleagues like to consume information (the value of which I mentioned in my post, A Tale of Two Companies).
Grow in Your Career
Internal networking builds relationships that will help you grow and develop in your whole career.
I know you know this, but it’s worth repeating: You should always be thinking about moving beyond what is your present professional status.
You could have a specific future role in mind, or you could simply want to take on a new set of responsibilities or increase the scope of your work or influence. But if you sit tight with what is, and keep doing what your familiar with, you run the risk of being left behind. Remember, your environment is constantly evolving. It’s a natural process. If you’re hunkered down doing the same old thing, you won’t evolve with it. So you need to continually strive upward, that is, work towards your next level–not where you are currently or where you were in the past. Networking inside your organization can help you make the trusted connections you need to gain perspective on yourself, and fuel your growth and development now and for the future.
In summary, you can stay with the status quo, in an echo chamber of uncritical feedback, using your talent to reinforce what used to be valued. Alternatively, you can nurture an internal network that will help you remain relevant, and grow and develop.
You know what I think? Start networking inside your organization today.