There are many different types of networking but in terms of business, networking is the process of building a range of professional contacts, sharing information with them, and regularly keeping in touch.
Networking can be formal or informal and nowadays is as likely to occur across a range of online platforms as it is face-to-face in the real world.
Professionals use networking to expand their circles of acquaintances, to find out more about opportunities in their field and to increase their awareness of news and trends in their fields or the greater world.
In addition to business networks, people also often network based on other common points of interest such as sports clubs, religious groups or a college/university alumni society.
Why is networking important?
Networking is key to a successful modern business as it opens up opportunities that may otherwise not present themselves. The more you connect with people and demonstrate your expertise, the more likely they’ll want to work with you. Contacts made through business networking are also more likely to refer you to people who have a problem they know you can help to solve. As you share your knowledge with people in your industry, others will do the same for you. This will help you learn about other people’s experiences and uncover ways you can solve your own issues. In an ever changing world, it’s also important to keep up-to-date with developments in your industry and networking will help you to ensure you are aware of factors that may affect your business. Networking with people both in and outside of your specific area of business broadens your knowledge and improves your confidence, which is beneficial for your mental health.