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When you’re trying to thrive in a modern workplace, there are few things more valuable than knowing how to network. A lot of people assume that networking is an external event that takes place at local events or industry conferences.
However, internal networking can be just as essential to your career growth.
When you know how to network in your workplace, you can boost your chances of being recruited for more projects, or even increase opportunities for promotion.
So, how do you master the art of internal networking in today’s evolving workspace? Let’s find out.
Find out What Internal Networking Is
First, you’re going to need to learn a little more about internal networking and how it works.
Unlike external networking when you go to events with a plan of talking to a few essential people, internal networking is all about connecting with colleagues and other people in your business.
Many organizations are striving to improve their internal networking strategies for employees today, as team members with closer bonds are more likely to be engaged and productive at work.
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Networking with the other people in your team can help you to discover new opportunities for growth.
You could learn that someone is leaving the company soon and opening up a new position for you to get. Networking also gives you a chance to showcase your worth to the people who make decisions about who gets promoted, and who doesn’t.
Prepare for Every Discussion
Whether you’re attending an in-office meeting with higher-ups in your organization, or you’re taking part in a group brainstorming session, think about how you want to portray yourself to the people around you.
Every time you have a chance to network with someone new in your organization, you should be considering how you’re going to get the most out of the interaction.
A meeting with a supervisor for your division could help you to learn more about what the higher-ups are looking for from employees like you.
It might be worth figuring out who you want to make a real effort to talk to in your business. For instance, you could create a list of must-meet individuals, including:
- The business CEO
- The Head of your department
- An important MVP in your team
- Someone from another team that you’re interested in joining
- Anyone with skills or experience that you want to gain
Consider asking your supervisor how your work is evaluated, and what you can do to improve your chances of future promotions.
Have some Ice-Breakers Ready
Plenty of people rely on ice-breakers for their external networking experiences, but they forget that those conversation starters can also be useful in an internal environment too.
For instance, if you’re thinking about making a career shift by moving into a different part of your business, then you might arrange a meeting with a manager from a different team.
Before you go into a meeting, make a list of questions that you want to ask about the position that you’re interested in.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to look up the person that you’re going to be meeting with so that you can learn a little more about their job role and how they contribute to the business.
If you show that you’ve done your research, the person you’re meeting with is likely to take you a lot more seriously.
Learn How to Introduce Yourself
Internal networking doesn’t always have to be about formal meetings and group discussions. Sometimes, it can be as simple as knowing how to introduce yourself to valuable people that you pass by in the halls.
Next time you see someone that you know will be valuable to the future of your career, say “Hi, I’m always seeing you around here, and wanted to introduce myself – my name is (your name), you’re (their name) right?”
It might feel a little weird doing this at first but making that first step in building new connections with people in your team will help to open a crucial dialogue with your colleagues.
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From that point, it will be a lot easier to ask the person you’ve introduced yourself to join you for coffee or chat with you about a project. You can even ask to follow the person on LinkedIn or social media so you can chat with them online too.
Make Every Connection Count
Finally, no matter where you’re meeting new people for your business network, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t let any relationship fall to the wayside. It takes more than one conversation to turn a stranger into a valuable member of your community.
With that in mind, remember to continue connecting with the people you meet whenever and however you can. In today‘s highly digital world, that could mean adding people on LinkedIn and other social media channels so you can keep track of each other’s progress.
Rather than just sending a basic follow-up email, make sure that you’re actively getting engaged with the valuable people you meet on a regular basis.
Get involved with your office’s intranet and make sure that you’re always following up with messages on messaging apps.
Strengthening your connection with the people in your company opens doorways for future growth. Show the people in your team that you’re willing to be an active part of the office community.
It helps the whole team work more comfortably together. If you’re the leader in your business, adjusting the design of your office to allow for more collaboration can help to make networking a natural part of your culture.
Consider having an open space where people can come together to discuss projects without distracting other team members.
Don’t Underestimate your Network
People often shy away from networking, assuming that it’s an uncomfortable and daunting experience.
However, the truth is that the more you can connect with other people in the business world, the easier it will be to accelerate your career and find new opportunities for growth.
While it’s common to think of networking as something that you do externally, the truth is that the internal connections that you build with colleagues and managers in your business can be just as valuable to your long-term growth.
Get to know the people in your team and build a rapport that you can use to transform your career.