Let’s start from the basic. Understand communication first.
To further strengthen and develop your network, communication is a key. However, not everyone is born as a good communicator. As Austin T. Brown(2017) states in his blog that we are born in the era of technology, communication is going backward as most people are now considered as an “electronic device addict” and we are the generation who advocate such practice. By having an advancement in technology isn’t necessarily a bad thing as networking can be created either online or in person.
The advance in technology also provokes the network to spread globally. Nonetheless, the way you communicate is still the necessity of building up the network. The way you respond to other people whether through Email or messages can somehow show your characteristics. The way you communicate with others online is about the same as in real life except the fact that you are not standing face to face. As Austin Brown continues to states his point that “If you are able to talk to anyone about anything without hesitation and with ease; paired with a strong worth ethic and general skills, you have the potential to be a strong and successful worker(2017).” In another word, if you are able to take the first steps, which is break your comfort zone and shake away your fear when trying to approaching to someone for making a connection, along with your personality and the skills you have on hand. This has already set you in the position to achieve your successful networking. I remember I used to be a shy person and nervous about any interaction with others not only because I’m an English language learner, but also because of the unknown fear of speaking to people in public. Until I got my first job, I was being forced to face the fears I have, and has job requires speaking not only one but hundreds of parents at the same time. Not until you have done it, you realized is actually not that scary. I actually enjoy the moment when everyone is listening to you, you feel the attention and respect from others. From that experience on, my view on interaction and communication have completely shifted me 360. Later on whether in the job or outside of the job, I will always be the active one to approach to something that I’m interested in without hesitating.
After you have passed the first steps, what comes next is how you maintain your network. According to David Fastuca(2016), “Perhaps you think you can shake a few hands, go to a few lunches, and poof, you have your successful business network, you are, well, wrong.” In another word, if you naivete believe that you have built a successful network just by introduce yourself and doing very minimum efforts, you are not on the track of achieving success but on the track of approaching failure. According to Gilroy(1993), “Networking is an evolutionary or cumulative process”(p. 139). In another word, your follow-up communication and maintaining a regular interaction within your network is essential. The network will only become more stable when people know you well enough to start building trust and that’s when networking become powerful. Effectively communication with anyone, your peers, professors, friends, coworkers, supervisor, even the sales associate at your favorite shopping location because you never know if he/she will bring a piece of “surprise” for you at any moment.
Establishing a successful network requires an enormous amount of work and efforts. With the advance in effective communication skills will help you accomplish your goal and maintaining your current connection with the possibility of expanding. If you consider knowing a person’s name and nothing else about that person as you have a strong network connection with the person, then that’s similar to I’m telling my Physics professor “I know the answer to the questions on the exam, but I can’t show the work of getting the solutions. However, can you still give me a check and an A?”
*Professor: where you get the answers from then???”*
Brown , A. T. (2017, September 25). What Do You Need to Improve On? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/communication-for-the-bad-communicators/what-do-you-need-to-improve-on-c38bea87245c
Fastuca, D. (2016, March 02). 8 Truths About Developing a Business Network [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@davidfastuca/8-truths-about-developing-a-business-network-cf91677df5cf
Gilroy, B. (1993). Networking in multinational enterprises: the importance of strategic alliances. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.