Everybody knows that networking is an essential skill if you wish to advance your career and be successful in life. The people you know and the connections you form define opportunities, thus providing you valuable launch pads for your career.
However, networking is most commonly seen as something you do outside of your workplace, with other people in different organizations or different industries. While external networking does have its set of advantages, there is a lot you can achieve by networking inside your organization too.
Internal networking allows you to build respect and reputation within your organization, while also providing you with plenty of opportunities you would have never come across otherwise. And the best part is that you don’t need to make huge changes in your life. With a little effort, internal networking could help you make the best of your current job.
The benefits of internal networking for your career
If you are still not convinced that networking within your organization is something that you should be putting time and effort into, here are a few reasons that may change your mind.
- Could increase your job satisfaction
Internal networking means creating meaningful connections with the people you work with. This in turn creates a friendly atmosphere and a positive team culture within your office, helping you enjoy your work and receive more satisfaction from it.
Job satisfaction is an important indicator of a great workplace and culture, and also reflects the attitude of the employees. When you connect with other people in your organization, you are more likely to enjoy going to work every day.
- Could increase your motivation and productivity
Internal networking enables easier flow of communication between you and your colleagues, which then makes collaboration on various tasks and projects much easier. This improved collaboration and great team spirit mean less stress and more motivation to overcome challenges and achieve your work goals.
Improved communication between co-workers means that relevant information can be found quickly, and there are also fewer instances of miscommunication and misunderstandings. This translates to increased productivity, not just for you, but for the entire team.
- Could provide you exclusive information on job openings
Networking with other people inside your organization could give you access to exclusive information on job openings. Even before such information becomes public knowledge, knowing the right people in your company can provide you exclusive access, thus giving you a head start on working towards the position you want.
If you are currently in a company you want to grow with and you can see a future for yourself there, knowing about available internal positions before others do could help you advance your career.
- Could be useful if you want to make a career shift
When you network with employees from other departments, you have the opportunity to learn more about their work. This can be valuable if you want to make a career shift.
Applying to a new field of work often requires some form of experience in that field. Otherwise, it can be difficult for hiring managers to see how you would be a good fit for a position. By reaching out to people from other departments, you have the unique opportunity to learn more and develop experience in a different area.
How you can network inside your organization
Wondering how you can get a network inside your organization? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Be friendly and approach others first
One of the easiest ways to network internally is to simply be friendly. Don’t be afraid to approach people first. When you are in the shared spaces of your office such as the break room or the hall, make eye contact, smile at others, and a simple “Hi” will be enough to start a conversation. Then slowly, you can learn more about them and build rapport. There is always time for networking and interacting with other people, even when you are riding the elevator!
- Go out for lunch with your colleagues
It is easier to let loose and connect more meaningfully with others outside of work, which is why inviting your colleagues for lunch or drinks is a great way to get to know them better. Even if you do not know them well, don’t hesitate to schedule lunch or drinks with them because after all, that’s what you’re meeting them for.
Outside of a professional space, people are more likely to connect with others freely, and you can even talk about things other than work. Remember the small details they tell you and bring it up later in your conversations. For instance, if they tell you that their child is starting school, ask them how they are liking it a few days later.
- Be genuinely curious about other people’s works and goals
People are naturally drawn to those who are genuinely interested in them. When you show people that you are curious about their work and what they do, there is no good reason for them not to respond positively. Make it clear that you want to learn from them.
Just remember not to be too nosy and do not push people if they are uncomfortable. If someone does not want to share details, respect their boundaries and know when to move on.
- Network with people from different departments
Internal networking should not be restricted to people in your team or department only. Expand your playing field and jump at the opportunities to connect with employees from other departments too. Ask to be included in projects that could connect you with key players from other departments. This helps you learn more about new areas of business and makes it easier for you to get things done.
- Always follow up
Finally, be someone that always follows up. Very few people follow up on conversations they have with other people that doing so will easily make you stand out and easy to remember. It will brand you as someone who is dedicated and thoughtful.
For example, if you run into a colleague you have recently spoken with, saying something as simple as, “Hey, it was good talking to you the other day. I remember you told me you liked XYZ, and I came across this article that I thought you might be interested in. Would love to discuss more about this topic!”
Internal networking, when done right, takes little effort but provides you plenty of returns. Take the time to form useful connections within your organization and see how it can advance your career.
Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include.
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