You might have graduated with the highest honours, but all that knowledge can only take you so far if you don’t know the right people to help you achieve your goals. Executives and leaders in the business world cannot stress enough on the invaluable connections and possibilities that await you at conferences and networking events. And the advantages of such go beyond monetary rewards.
Attending networking events and building your LinkedIn profile will bring you closer to highly influential people, presenting you with rare opportunities that will allow you to tap into their networks and open new doors for your career. Business Strategic Network also emphasises that people are more likely to connect with those they like and trust, and when you serve as a resource, you will also be the catalyst to others’ success.
While the very definition is all about establishing connections, having an expanded network is only a small aspect of the many benefits one would get in making and nurturing these business relationships. Other than making your presence known and receiving advice from like-minded individuals, Kim Baird from Amazing Business explains that you will be surrounding yourself with positive influences that will give you the motivation and confidence needed to build your business. You better your social skills to promote your product and convince others to jump onboard with your ideas. Learning how to talk will prepare you for negotiations and deals later on. And when you cultivate these relationships, what you end up with are friendships. Though this is a personal gain more than anything, friendships are the result of your strongest networking relationships.
In truth, networking is useful at all stages of your career and is recommended even during the admissions process for university. MBA admissions coach David White, who runs the MBA guidance website Menlo Coaching, shares on the blog, “Establishing relationships with current students, faculty and alumni of a business school enriches your understanding of what that school can do for you—and what you can do for the school.” These connections, together with what you learn in your application, will help you become the ideal candidate for that school.
This example shows that networking begins way before you step into your first real event. But don’t be fooled; the success of a business is not solely dependent on networking. Rather than living by the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” understand that your experience and knowledge are just as important as your business network. As Mikael Cho has shared with Business Insider, your social reach doesn’t matter if you don’t have depth. Your network is a byproduct, while your ideas are your products. Without a solid product, you have no network to build.
As important as it is to build these connections, your work comes first. Build something great that people will care about. Only once you have a product worth selling will you be able to experience the benefits of networking and reap the successes.