Networking internally is a thing? Yes, well at least it can be. I’ve written quite a bit about networking but so far everything I’ve discussed has been virtual and in person networking events set after hours or away from the office. Isn’t networking at the workplace just as important?
What Networking Internally Isn’t
Networking at the office shouldn’t be brown nosing or politicking. Its sole purpose shouldn’t be self-promotion either by sucking up to influencers or campaigning for personal initiatives. The difference between a brown nose and a kiss butt is—depth perception, and that’s exactly how those practitioners are perceived. Attempting to schmooze or ingratiate yourself to others seldom leads to meaningful connections, it’s often quite the opposite.
How to Network Internally
Begin by planning time away from your work area—your comfort zone. Visit other departments and divisions; introduce yourself to team members you don’t work with directly—ask, watch, learn, and listen.
Find out what others do. Ask others to tell you about their position, responsibilities, and challenges. You’ll be rewarded with a better understanding of the entire operation, and most people enjoy sharing.
Ask how you can help. Look for specific areas where you may assist and don’t end it there, leave the door open for others to call on you in the future. If you become known as the person who helps, people will want to help you.
Seek out mentors and mentees. Who can you learn from and who can you teach? Determine areas of self-improvement then search for those within the organization that can help you improve. Share what you’ve learned with others, share the mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned—offer to be their guide.
Network 360. Network with peers, trainees, and C-level staff—you never know what connection will help you. A new trainee today may be the head of production in two years and probably won’t forget the interest you showed in their success.
Share recognition. Congratulate others on milestones, awards, and project completions. Nearly every survey and study on employee engagement lists recognition as the number one motivator for most employees. Give people what they need.
Connect people. Putting folks together in win-win situations may be the best way for you to connect with them. Teammates won’t forget what you did for them.
Why you should be Networking Internally?
Getting to know others, what they do, they’re challenges, and offering help is often, but not always reciprocated. In the least, it opens the doors to ask for help. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve needed to fill a position and was rewarded with employee referrals because I knew teammates in every department at every level.
I’ve been able to introduce policies and procedures, improve workflow, and ask for help—all because I took the time to introduce myself, learn what others faced, and asked how I could help. There’s another reason to network internally, and maybe it’s because I’m a type A extrovert, but it sure makes work more fun and interesting when you know who you’re working with.
How Can I Help You?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.
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Photo by HIVAN ARVIZU @soyhivan on Unsplash