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April 17, 2015

The real importance of internal networking for leadership growth

People gathering to network to increase work production and social relationships.

Networking can increase work production and social relationships within a company.

Don’t let your networking skills become stale just because you think you don’t need them now that you have a job. In reality, networking within your company is just as important, if not more important than outside opportunities.
According to the Harvard Business Review, there are three basic forms of networking, including:

  1. Operational: Building and maintaining work relationships can foster a sense of community and help achieve work goals.
  2. Personal: Joining a professional group, association or community can help you gain experience that can then be used to advance in your career.
  3. Strategic: Knowing the right people at the right time and place can only serve to help you in your future leadership aspirations.

If you’re a little rusty on networking, or are unsure of where to start, try some of the following four tips to point you in the right direction.

  • Ask for help: According to Forbes, help could be as close as a boss or fellow employee. Ask them to make an introduction for a smooth, natural meeting.
  • Be a team player: Don’t be afraid to congratulate people on their accomplishments. This signifies you can work collectively with people and that you’re paying attention to what goes on beyond your desk.
  • Make a list of people you would like to meet: Keep a running list of management and other employees you would like to connect with one day.
  • Understand why you want to meet these people: You know who you want to meet, but why? Don’t get stumped during your meeting if asked why you wanted to connect. Let them know why you admire them and explain how you would like to implement some of their traits into your own work day.

You might also find a course on interpersonal communication, to be the push you need start networking. Check out Career Development: Strengthen your Personal Network or Inclusion: Getting to Know Your Fellow Team Members to get started.

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