7 ways you can get better at networking within your company
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of networking? Accepting and sending a network invite on LinkedIn, attending networking events and conferences, initiating a conversation with people outside your organization, getting introduced to new faces by mutual connections? Sure, ok. But networking has as much to do with getting to know people within your organization too. Think about it! How many people do you know (more than having said a hello!) other than your teammates? Do you really spend time bonding with colleagues from other departments? Have you spoken to people who are above you in the hierarchy or sub-ordinates from other teams?
Internal networking, you see, can be useful as people who are well-connected stand a better chance at advancing in their careers. If you too want that then it’s for your good to stop believing that internal networking is only for opportunists. As a matter of fact, it is for everyone right from the office boy to the CEO. Let us find out how you can kick-start or at least get better at it.
Congratulate colleagues when they get a promotion or when they are acknowledged for their contribution during a meeting. If they are given an award during an annual meeting then walk up to them and appreciate them in their moment of glory! The criteria of striking a conversation shouldn’t be that you know them. Congratulate them anyway and think of it as a conversation starter. You could even do so over an email. It’s a small way of telling them that you were happy to hear about their proud moment. Your praise and warm gesture will not be forgotten!
Take up cross-functional roles
If you are being given a cross-functional project then take it without a question! Imagine the possibility of working with people who you didn’t know earlier and the things you can learn collaborating with each other. Usually, tour manager would hold a meeting to break the ice but if that doesn’t happen then you can propose it. Team members can give a small introduction about who they are and their role. This way you will know who’s accountable for what and know who you have to touch-base should the need arise.
Attend company events
An offsite, festival celebrations, annual events and conferences, meet-ups you should try and attend as many as you can. If you think your mind is tricking you and you’re ready with an excuse then talk yourself out of it. If you aren’t sure how you’ll get by then ask your colleague to hang around with you and introduce you to their connections. Make small talks. Loosen up a little and stop finding a corner where nobody can spot you! Get out of your shell and interact as much with the people who you don’t know.
Sign up for training
Training programmes usually see the participation of colleagues from the entire office. No wonder it makes for an excellent opportunity to network. So, when you do get a chance or are recommended for a training programme then sign-up for it. Not only will you meet colleagues who you’ve never met but also interact with people regardless of where in the hierarchy they stand. If you think you’ve made a connection then deepen your bond by proposing a conversation over coffee or a working lunch.
Don’t have one lunch buddy
Stop lunching alone or with the same set of people. Of course, all of us love being surrounded by our tribe but know that the longer you stay in your comfort zone the tougher internal networking becomes! The next time you step into the lunch area have a good look at all the tables. Observe the animated conversations your coworkers are having. Then make your move and decide where you’d like to eat food and with whom. If someone asks you to join them then go sit with them happily. Over a period of time, you will have expanded your network exponentially!
Another brilliant way of expanding your network is by volunteering. Join various boards and groups or volunteer for events that could do with some helping hands. This way you will not only contribute to something you believe in but also increase the chances of your visibility at work and make new connections. Also, your colleagues will be able to put a face to your name, especially if they’ve never worked with you or have only communicated virtually.
Facilitate a connection
Making new connections and adding people to your network shouldn’t be your only goal. Whenever you get the chance, introduce your coworkers with people within the organization. You can also introduce them to your external networks as well and vice versa.
Do you think you are better prepared and will seize an internal networking opportunity when it comes your way?