The art of networking

We are all dependent on other people to achieve our goals and realize our dreams.

Nobody can hope to be successful in the long term without thinking connectedly and gaining the support of others. Sooner or later, every lone wolf will reach his limits and his career will come to a standstill. Trying to build a successful career without a strong network is like building a house on the sand. Your foundations will weaken over time, and in the end you may find yourself sinking.

But what is it exactly that makes a network so important?

It might sound like a truism, but personal contacts open doors. One classic study, outlined in the book Getting a Job, showed that among the 282 men surveyed, 56 percent had found their jobs through personal contacts, whereas only 19 percent had found theirs through job advertisements and 10 percent through applications of their own initiative. It is precisely in times of economic downturn, with their high employee turnover and high job insecurity, that having a personal network is more important than ever. People who are good networkers rarely have any problems finding a job.


Having a personal network is a prerequisite for a successful career.


We are working in an ever-changing world. A person who is an assistant today might be the CEO tomorrow. If you are known by many people and are, importantly, liked by those people – for example, if you have shown yourself to be generous, friendly and helpful – then this will eventually pay off.

Fear of rejection is familiar to all of us and is nothing to be ashamed of. Few of us are natural networkers with the courage to approach strangers to try to win them over.

Yet there are a few tricks that can help even the most shy among us take that first big step:

  • Learn from the best. Simply take notes on how an expert networker goes about approaching others, and let yourself be inspired by their methods.
  • Keep studying. Maintaining a good demeanor and developing artful rhetoric are just like any other skills in that they can be systematically learned; for example, by taking courses on communication and rhetoric. 


And sooner or later, you simply have to take the plunge. Like with all things in life, the best way to learn is by practicing. It can be helpful, for example, to set yourself a target of getting to know one new person a week. Every little bit of experience and practice you gain will make building your network that much easier. 


The fact that networking can be so easy on the one hand and so difficult on the other is perfectly demonstrated by the example of Keith Ferrazzi’s father. (Ferrazzi has been described as a master “networker.” by Inc. Magazine). As a laborer of humble means, he wanted something more for his son, so he approached the only person he knew who might be of help: the head of the firm. In other words, his boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. The head of the firm was so impressed by his courage that he paid for Keith to attend the best school in the country.


Let’s start with connecting… And start a “new” conversation today!



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