Travel the Road of Networking Possibilities
At a recent Women In Trucking reception, two drivers sitting next to each other discovered that they worked for the same carrier. When they left the event, they vowed to stay in touch and maintain their newfound friendship. These two women knew that they could learn from and lean on each other; they knew the value of networking.
Whether you’re looking for advice, a career move, or a person who understands your perspective, it’s nice to know someone who is willing to offer encouragement or guidance. That’s the value of networking. So, how can you become more connected?
First, determine what you want to get out of your interactions. Are you thinking about expanding your fleet, or are your sights set on climbing the corporate ladder? Write down your goal, identify who can help you reach it, and then start networking.
Make an effort to get to know industry leaders and others who can help you become more successful in your career. In his book, Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi offers tips to utilize the power of relationships to further your career. To expand your networking circle, Ferrazzi suggests looking for “connectors”—people who can help you link to “important” people. Connectors include, but are not limited to, those who interact with large audiences or know people across industries.
If you are willing to share your own knowledge, time, and resources, people will be more than happy to reciprocate. Ferrazzi reminds us to never keep score, however, as relationships develop much more quickly if we aren’t expecting something in return. This also means that you should reach out to others, even when you are not in need of their advice or assistance. Maintain the connections you make and keep the door open for future opportunities.
Successful networking also means paying attention to details. Write down names and take note of things you’d like to remember about a person. Did he or she win an award, overcome a challenge, or have an unusual hobby? Mention those details when you connect. You’ll endear yourself and create more trust when you show an interest in your networking partner. Stay in touch and always follow up when you promise to get back to someone because, as Ferrazzi says, follow up is the key to success.
Finally, remember that networking opportunities can pop up when least expected. Be ready for those moments by learning the art of small talk—it is the foundation for creating bonds and building trust. Be interesting and credible, and let the other person know that you are willing to share your time and energy to help them become more successful.
The two drivers who discovered that they worked for the same carrier learned that being a member of an association, such as Women In Trucking, is an ideal opportunity for networking and, in turn, paves the way for career success.
What do you find to be the most effective way to network? What opportunities have you gained from networking? Share your experiences in the comment section.