7 Expert Tips for Networking Inside Your Organisation
For as long as most of us can remember, professional networking has been the key to successful career development and business expansion.
These days, however, networking has reached new heights, exceeding far more than a simple handshake and a smile. In fact, some days networking can feel like an entirely separate job from your full-time role.
Many people think of meeting with external clients or reaching out to potential employers when they think of networking, but there’s one type that’s much closer to home (and just as important): networking within your current organisation.
Internal networking is vital to enhancing your professional profile and getting recognition for your hard work – not to mention getting the inside scoop on opportunities for progression.
To help simplify things, we’ve reviewed the best expert tips for networking inside your organisation that’ll work for you whether you’re an entry-level employee or a top-tier executive.
Tip #1: Get Involved
Perhaps the best way to network inside your organisation is to find ways to get involved and mingle at work.
You can become a member of an employee committee, for instance, or attend – and perhaps even help plan – some of the various social functions that your organisation arranges. If these don’t currently exist, then take initiative to plan a team lunch or a post-work happy hour!
By putting yourself out there and socialising with your colleagues, you’ll get to meet people across your organisation, learn about their roles (some that you may have never known existed), and open doors to new and potential career opportunities.
Tip #2: Listen, Don’t Tell
It’s not a surprise that most people like to talk about themselves, and when it comes to professional networking it’s really no different.
Most people approach networking by telling people who they are and what they do, and while this is an important component, the key to networking is not just to talk but to listen.
If you engage with colleagues and pay close attention to what they’re saying – especially in those moments when they’re particularly enthusiastic – you can learn what’s important to them through active listening, identify those opportunities to connect, and ultimately create stronger workplace bonds.
Tip #3: Don’t Be a Salesperson
If you’re looking to network internally for the sake of landing a new role, we recommend refraining from being too vocal about your end-game objectives and instead aim to find common ground with your colleagues.
Networking is, after all, about forming mutually beneficial relationships, and if you approach networking with the mentality that you’re just looking to get something from it for yourself, you’ll likely come off as inauthentic. Thus, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot before you even get started.
To combat this, be your genuine self and avoid too much time in the spotlight - at least at first. With networking your initial goal should be about forming relationships and collecting information – not about showcasing everything you can bring to the table before you’re even sure you have a seat.
Tip #4: Do Your Research
You know back in school when you’d study (or cram) before a big test? Well, it’s worth taking the same approach to those colleagues you hope to build relationships with at work.
If you know that a particular person, group, or team in your organisation is essential to your development, doing some thorough research will prove to be a great advantage to these professional relationships.
If you’re not sure where to start, do a simple Google search or stop by their LinkedIn profile.
Any information floating about online may speak volumes about them - and your company - enabling you to see where you could perhaps fill any gaps, offer your help, or find common ground that could act as a simple conversation starter.
Tip #5: Show Your Commitment
Another way to strengthen and expand your network in the office is to volunteer to help with internal projects, big and small.
This way, you’ll not only show your commitment to the success of the business, but you’ll connect with like-minded individuals who are also looking for ways to showcase their skills and knowledge.
Naturally, as you work together, you’ll collect more internal networking contacts who can speak to your character and work ethic and, in time, create more visibility for yourself in the company and open up pathways to new job opportunities down the line.
Tip #6: Find a Mentor
You can learn a lot about your career by having open and honest conversations with individuals who were once in your shoes, and we encourage you to find a mentor in your organisation who you can look up to and depend on for professional guidance and support.
A mentor can offer valuable insight and advice about your industry and organisation, how they got to where they are, the other areas you might be interested in in your line of work, information on upcoming opportunities, and how your goals might fit in.
Oh, and as a bonus you may be able to use them as a reference when a new and exciting role pops up!
Tip #7: Be Mindful of Time
As most of us know, timing can mean everything when it comes to business networking, and when you get the timing right you want to make the most of it.
To this end, if you’re at an internal networking event in the office and you’re interested in speaking with one or a few of the main speakers, we’d recommend you be strategic about when, where, and how you approach them.
You’ll want to, for instance, avoid swarming a potential connection right after their presentation to avoid fighting your way through the others who are looking to connect. Instead, try approaching them beforehand to have a more memorable, impactful chat.
If, however, the person you’re looking to connect with is a member of senior management or the C-suite, keep in mind that you might have better luck touching base with their assistant or similar employee in the company to make a more personal introduction.
When it comes to connecting with people inside your organisation, taking a thoughtful yet strategic approach to building a strong network is vital to making a lasting impression and developing in your role.
We hope that you’ve been able to take some helpful networking tips away from this blog and wish you the best of luck moving forward!
Get ahead in your organisation with one of our 100% online professional qualifications. Visit our website for more and get started today.
It’s time to build your career.
Request your guide to getting qualified online in HR, accountancy, project management, GCSEs and more.