It’s what you already know and who you already know?

It is what you know and who you know?By networking {and professional} talking professional Stefan Thomas, who’s the writer of Enterprise Networking for Dummies and Win The Room. Stefan might be discovered right here

Not too long ago I used to be talking to some college students in regards to the topic of networking and one among them remarked that their Mum had instructed them ‘it isn’t what you already know, it’s who you already know’.

And I didn’t like that, as a result of I felt it massively undervalued the three or 4 years of examine they’d put in, in addition to the experience of their lecturers and mentors. So right here’s my tackle it.

You might be probably the most certified particular person on the planet, but when no person is aware of who you might be, these {qualifications} and even expertise are unlikely to result in the job provides or enterprise alternatives you’re in search of. So I advocate that in addition to focussing on constructing their training, {qualifications} and expertise, college students also needs to construct their community too. And it’s NEVER too early to begin.

The identical applies to the remainder of us too. Any enterprise and enterprise proprietor wants a community, in addition to needing to be wonderful at what they do.

Networking doesn’t must imply networking occasions. On the time I write this, in late 2023, there are various different choices to construct our community, our visibility and our credibility, even when we by no means depart our desks!

Firstly, and I massively advocate this to college students, begin together with your peer group. Who do you already know? For college students it makes a lot sense to attach with their fellow college students AND their lecturers and mentors. These people could be sat the alternative aspect of the desk from them in a number of years at a job interview. There may be completely nothing improper with having the unfair benefit of already realizing the one that is interviewing you!

For these of us in enterprise, our present tackle e book is commonly missed within the quest to make new contacts. A very smart exercise for anybody new in enterprise is to undergo their ‘telephone and have a look at who they know who may have the ability to assist them. I’ve executed this again and again since I went into enterprise in 2007. Not solely are these people already ‘heat’ (they know us) however fairly often they’re very happy to assist with introductions. Previous work colleagues, previous bosses, previous mentors in addition to our social connections too.

Secondly, on-line and social media performs a large function in constructing and sustaining our community today. I consistently search for people who find themselves speaking in regards to the topics I’ve experience in on social media, and be a part of within the conversations. I actively hunt down folks I’d love to do enterprise with and have interaction with them on-line earlier than I ever method them with a proposal of my providers. And I consistently publish content material too, in order that if potential prospects are checking me out they’ll see that I do know what I’m speaking about (or at the least have the ability to make up their very own minds about that!).

By expressing my opinion on varied subjects on-line, and by posting my recommendation on networking, as usually as doable, I’m usually instructed by purchasers that they employed me as a result of they ‘felt like they already knew me’. I used to be booked for a serious talking gig, at an annual convention for a big organisation a number of years in the past. I didn’t meet the organisers till the day of the convention, by which level I had already been paid. I requested them why they selected me as their key speaker for the day they usually replied that having been really helpful to me, they checked me out on-line and felt like they ‘already knew me’. The large uplift in belief while you put effort into your on-line relationships, and the content material you set out on-line, can have a huge effect in your profession and enterprise.

Thirdly, in the event you can carry your self to go away your desk, occasions and networking occasions are nonetheless as necessary now as they ever have been. I’m travelling to a enterprise present subsequent week the place, in the middle of the 5 hours or so I’ll spend there, I’ll meet dozens of parents, together with catching up with some present contacts, and assembly new folks alongside the way in which. I’m amazed at what number of instances I flip as much as an occasion like this and somebody who I do know says “oh, I’m glad you’re right here, I’ve been that means to name you”. Strive your hardest to get alongside to networking occasions, trade conferences and wherever else you might have the chance to satisfy present contacts and new of us too.

Each large alternative begins with a little bit dialog. I’ve made my profession from beginning little conversations, turning a few of them into large alternatives, and educating others how you can do the identical.