Networking is one of the key skills for managers these days. Organizations expect people to connect and establish contact with people they work with. This may include business partners, clients, vendors, government officials. Many business opportunities are passed out to people in someone’s network. So networking becomes an important skill for someone in a business building scenario.
It is a win-win relationship for both the parties and hence a must have skill for all.
2 years of MBA offer ample amount of opportunity to network. In fact most of us start our journey using some network sub-consciously. We ask for references for an institution from people we know.
As future managers, MBA students can start networking while still in campus. Sharing some steps on – how to start?
- You need to start by breaking the myth that networking is hollow or manipulative. People worldwide use it ethically to promote mutual business interests.
- The next step as mentioned earlier to approaching people to develop a business network. You may or may not like it, but the truth is that you have to reach out. Make a start by strengthening your connections with people you know. Just a casual mail now and then, a thoughtful message or phone call will ensure that you stay in touch.
- The next step is finding out who is doing what. You need to be genuinely interested in the lives and stories of people. Again, this may not come naturally but you have to make a start and once you do, you will like it. Just know where to draw the line.
- Reach further; once you have completed the first step of just reaching out you now need to join some club, some activity group. People with similar interests, who meet on a regular basis.
- Listening is what you learn to do next. This means you be generous by way of giving people those patient ears they need. This will strengthen the bonding. You will find it work wonders for you. Generous gestures and returned by people without you even asking for it.
- Test you groundwork by starting to ask people for help whenever required. Remember doing this is an art. Do not be cunning but just be straight in communicating what you want from other person. Keep at it, you will improve with practice.
- Follow up and be in touch. If you really listened to the other person you will know what appeals to him. Don’t send a mass mail, message to everyone. That will not work. Make everyone feel special.