I remember my surprise when I learned that an astonishing 70% of jobs in The Netherlands are a direct result of networking.
Early in my career, a very charming and curious colleague approached me repeatedly with great interest in a project I had been shortlisted for. Taking people at face value, I was completely transparent in our conversations. Occasionally, I’d look up from my laptop to find him engaging in useless banter with the project manager. Before I could put two and two together, the project manager had placed him on the project and the colleague in question wasn’t so curious anymore.
So what is this magical concept of networking that we’re all supposed to be doing and expected to be naturally gifted at? The good news is that networking can be an acquired skill. Over the years, I have observed some key behaviors in individuals who have managed to ace the networking game.
Networkers know how to carry a conversation
They are subject matter experts and/or demonstrate curiosity in their interactions
Networkers ask a lot of questions
They are not worried about interfering or appearing nosy. Knowledge = power
Networkers are great at their job and smooth in their delivery
Observe them and take pointers
Networkers tend to have or display positive dispositions
Positivity is contagious and everyone wants to keep positive energy close
Networkers always make time for after-work drinks
Joining your work “borrel” on a Friday can be an investment in your professional network. Try not to see it as time away from a personal life
Networkers love frequent coffee breaks
Remember that favorites are often made at the coffee machine. Also remember to always let your work speak for itself first
Of course, there’s more to networking than coffee breaks. Check out Top 9 benefits of business networking.