Establish successful networks

It’s important to have a network in your work life in order to assert yourself and make progress. Your network includes people inside and outside your company who can support you in many different ways. Having a close connection when you’re under time pressure or in a bind is useful to address a problem directly and quickly straighten things out.

A good network supports you on three levels:

  1. Objective and informative: With ideas, tips, suggestions, feedback, information (also about important developments, other persons, dependencies, etc.)
  2. Practical: Assistance with the completion/solution of a task, providing contacts, request to others, supply of resources, etc.
  3. Emotional: Listening, understanding, recognition, appreciation, encouragement, sympathy, etc.

Don’t forget that networks are strategic alliances meant to bring every partner a benefit. As a result, you should make sure to pay attention to the following basic rules set out in the checklist.

Checklist: 5 Rules for successful networking

  1. Long-term consideration
    Good relationships take time to grow and are often the result of a variety of meetings.
  2. Give and take should balance each other
    You do not have to return a favor immediately for something that has been done. Favors should be paid back over the long run, however. To “warm up” a relationship, you can take the initiative and offer a favor where appropriate. Make sure to take note when somebody does something for you and never forget to thank him/her for it! Distance yourself however from a person who has never returned a favor despite you requesting.
  3. Stay loyal
    Don’t participate in discussions about third parties. Try to return these types of discussions to a subjective level. Your enemy today could be your ally tomorrow. Only if you conduct yourself with integrity can you create long-term allies!
  4. Protect your privacy
    Any major difficulties in your private life (health, relationship, finances, etc.) should by all means be kept to yourself. You can’t predict which way to take such information and how to develop network relationships.
  5. Maintain your contacts
    Keep up contacts, for example, by sending a card, an email, calling them or meeting them. You’ll strengthen the relationship to your network partner, if you show your willingness to help, show a genuine interest and give recognition.

Build up your professional network in a targeted manner

  1. Take stock: What contacts do you have inside and outside the company as well as in your private life? You can best collect these contacts in a professional network such as Xing or linkedin, which allows you to maintain contact even if the persons change employers. Review this list of contacts: Which of these contacts do you want to expand and what is your goal here? Which of these contacts would you prefer to keep a loose relationship with, and which would you like to let go because they’d weigh you down?
  2. Expansion: Decide which people you’d like to get to know? Who could be an important partner for you? Who can use your knowledge and skills? What quality of relationship would you like to establish on a scale ranging from “casual contact” to “very personal”? Arrange these people in a list according to category.
  3. Make contacts: Where can you best make contacts in order to build relationships?
    -> Within your own company (e.g. training, working group, company sports facilities)
    -> Outside your own company (e.g. professional associations, clubs, seminars, Xing groups)
  4. Supplement your network with private contacts: Ask yourself which private relationships are important to you and which ones you care about. You should also makes sure not to neglect the contacts you need in order to establish a balance. Make sure to plan enough time in your schedule for this.

I hope that you are able to establish a network that lasts over the long run. I’d be happy to support you in giving your career a boost. Feel free to contact me at +41 41-210 9123!