Many of us place a lot of importance on networking but don’t necessarily give ourselves the time and space to develop the skillset. Whether it be in our personal or professional lives going outside of our typical, convenient circles will help us create more dynamic networks for future career development opportunities. So how we make this happen? How we do we create space in our busy schedules to actually prioritize this in our day to day lives? Focus on two simple tactics to start.
Less is more. Instead of trying to go to all events at your work place or those offered by the community choose a few that provide better quality opportunities for you. For instance, something as simple as a happy hour or an optional team building workshop can provide the environment to have a conversation with a peer whose type of position you are interested in or to have a more casual discussion with your leadership about ways to grow within the company.
Schedule it. Just like we have to make room to take care of ourselves (exercise, meditation, personal care) we have to schedule time to create connections outside of our typical day to day lives. Is there a speaker coming to your workplace or a class being offered maybe a time not convenient but doable? Give yourself permission to invest a small amount of time now that could open a door for you later.
Personal or operation networks come naturally because they are what help us achieve our day to day goals, but strategic networking is how we push beyond the convenient circles and create a space for conversations and meetings to expand our reach. These relationships can turn into jobs, promotions or career changes later on down the line. The most unassuming connections can be the most valuable and your secret weapon to your next step of career growth.