Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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2 What does networking look like in action?

Photo of three elderly men in a coffee shop.
Figure 3 Networking

A network is a group of interconnected people with a common interest. The network is the result of making these connections – otherwise known as networking. You will probably have heard this term being used more in recent years.

This first activity gets you to think about examples of networking you may know about, or be involved with yourself.

What connections with other people would you classify as networking?

Activity 1 Prompting thoughts about networking

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

As quickly as you can, write down as many examples of networking that you can think of in the box below. An example is given to get you started.

I would be networking if I was …

(E.g. having lunch with a former colleague who is interested in joining your new organisation.)

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You would be networking if you were …

  • Arranging a coffee morning with your neighbours
  • Telephoning someone you met at a local community event
  • Going to a local club
  • Having coffee with a colleague from another department at work
  • Joining in an online conversation
  • Setting up a local fitness group
  • Chatting with a neighbour at the shops
  • Meeting a friend from another department for a drink after work.

You may well have a very different list from this and that is just fine. There are many different ways of networking.

There has to be a purpose for networking to happen. Without it, many of the activities could be simply social. Of course, they are valuable as social events, but what makes them networking activities is that you have a reason beyond just liking the people you are interacting with.

The purpose can just as easily be about giving something to someone else. Networks depend on give and take. Otherwise, why would people sustain them?

By now you understand a little more about networking but may also have questions about how it fits in with shaping and developing your career. The next section addresses this issue.

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