It’s a common misconception that only entrepreneurs should network to drum up business.

While corporate networking isn’t a disruptive practice, there’s a general lack of awareness about its benefits. Which means, the lack of a robust professional network ends up haunting most ambitious professionals in the long run.

Wondering how networking is synonymous with your success in the corporate world?

Read on to uncover the surprising benefits of corporate networking.

1.   Helps you stay on top of industry best practices

With organizations increasingly relying on employees for innovative problem-solving, networking is a great way to learn from industry veterans and peers to fuel your thinking. Plus, staying on top of industry updates also gives you the advantage of looking at things from a unique perspective and coming up with solutions nobody else would think of.

2.   Boosts your confidence

Like it or not, your professional success does shape your self-perception. That’s why an unproductive day at work makes you feel crappy!

So when you mingle with peers and offer to help someone in a jam by banking on your professional experience, your confidence skyrockets. You also come back to your desk the next day with a spring in your step and with some new-fangled ideas to test out.

3.   New opportunities open up

When you network with other folks in your industry, you become more visible.

Sure, this doesn’t happen overnight, but it really is inevitable if you keep at it. And, when a fancy position opens up in your dream company, don’t be surprised if people reach out to you because they think you’re a good fit.

This doesn’t have to be an external opportunity either. Internal networking gets you noticed by the leadership in your organization, which translates to tons of opportunities for growth.

Sounds amazing, right?

4.   In-house collaboration becomes easier

Fast-paced, modern workplaces refuse to function as silos, which means inter-departmental collaboration needs to be seamless.

It’s no secret that it’s easier (and much more pleasant) to work with people you have a rapport with. So make sure you connect with folks beyond your team.

Moreover, when you make an effort to build relationships with your peers, you’re rewarded in big or small ways every day.

Remember how Dev from Accounting responded to your high-priority email just when everybody was packing up for the weekend?

Take that good karma and pass it around.

5.   You create a support system

Networking is way more than leaving an event with a fistful of business cards.
Productive networking translates to idea swapping, creative problem solving, and, most importantly, creating a strong support system.

One day you’re celebrating someone else’s major win, and the next thing you know they’re celebrating yours too!

(If that’s not how it’s been working for you, you need to jump ship ASAP).

How to ace corporate networking

Here are some tips to make your next networking event (online for now) more effective and less agonizing.

Start small

The best way to get noticed is to join a relatively smaller group of like-minded professionals who’re grappling with the same problems as you.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive – what can you learn from folks who don’t have it all figured out?

The thing is, you don’t always have to learn from a veteran. Sometimes being in the trenches with your peers can teach you just as much.

Besides, when you get comfortable speaking up in small groups, the prospect of attending a larger event starts sounding a lot less scary.

Don’t sign up for all the events all at once

The more people you meet the faster your network grows, right?

I made this mistake too, compromising quality for quantity.

My advice?

Nurture those relationships and work on creating a stronger rather than a bigger network.

Network on your terms

Introverts, listen up.

Are you losing sleep (and getting cold feet) over attending an event?

You don’t have to be the first one in and the last one out, you know? You don’t have to hang back for drinks every time.

It really is okay to network on your terms and at a pace you’re comfortable with.

Stop calling it “networking”

This one is again for the introverts out there.

Not to be presumptuous, but most introverts I know hate small talk, and that’s why they detest corporate networking.

If “networking” sounds way too clinical for you, maybe it’s time to do a quick switcheroo. May be, it’ll be easier if you think of networking as forging meaningful connections with kindred souls!

(All credits to MarieTV for this amazing tip.)

The Wrap

Here’s the thing: even though “work” is a massive part of our lives, we tend to stay away from productive discussions about it.

I mean, after spending those ungodly hours at our desks, who wants to talk about work anyway?

And I get it – networking can be time consuming and sometimes down right awkward, especially if you’re an introvert.

But when done right, networking can supercharge your career.

I mean it.

Go make the next 12 months YOUR year of growing your professional network on your terms!

P.S. When was the last time you attended a networking event? Did it go as expected? Let me know in the comments.