One hour of networking for professional success – Fast Company | Region & Cash

Networking has always been a key factor in professional success. Whether it’s cultivating new connections within an organization or building external partnerships, networking can make or break our careers.

But how do we build and maintain connections with colleagues we rarely see in person? How can we maintain relationships when we’re not in the office? How could we mix the physical and virtual water dispensers?

To understand how we can connect differently, I turned to Dorie Clark, who teaches Executive Education at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School. She is the author of numerous bestselling business books, including The long game of how to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world.

For starters, Clark says you need to recognize the differences between remote and personal networks.

“The biggest difference is that you can afford to be a little looser with in-person surgeries because you don’t have to consciously plan things,” she explains. “You will meet people, and things will happen that are more random or coincidental.”

In contrast, she says, when we work remotely, we need to be more conscious about connectivity.

“You have to be more aware and proactive when you . . . Remote, as these accidental collisions don’t usually happen on their own. So that’s not to say you can’t network effectively remotely – you can – you just can’t be passive. It requires more planning and more conscious thinking.”

Be less transactional in remote meetings

It starts with thinking about how we interact in remote meetings. Clark points out that the natural focus on only discussing work when you’re not face-to-face is transactional and damaging to our working relationships and network.

“That might be satisfying because you can get the task done faster, but it’s really not satisfying for the person at the other end of the equation because they know they’re being treated like a tool to help you achieve your goal and nothing more than that. It’s really important to remember to ask about, talk to, and have conversations with the person so you have a three-dimensional view of their life and vice versa.”

Making time to socialize is even more important with colleagues working remotely.

“If you’re in a hybrid situation, some of your peers may be far away. You may only be interacting with them electronically, so it’s important to pay attention to these exchanges and simply hang around for a few minutes or have a little chat beforehand so you don’t lose out on the social niceties.

Maximize socializing time in the office

When you go into the office, it’s important to make time for socializing, which Clark defines as “the social form of work, which involves, among other things, cultivating interpersonal relationships.”

She emphasizes the need to plan your social time in the office. “Say okay, who else will be in the office, who do I need to connect with, who do I need to meet to get things done, and who do I need to meet to build relationships and deepen my connection with? ”

And post-pandemic, it’s important to network explicitly. “People have gotten used to being weird about COVID, or they’ve gotten used to not inviting people,” Clark said. “So you have to remind her of that.”

Finally, Clark reminds us not to fall back into the pre-pandemic habit of eating lunch at our desks. “If you only have two days in the office, you can should never eat alone.”

Expand your network now

The shift to hybrid work is an excellent opportunity to meet new people who have suffered from the pandemic. says Clark Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report found that “weak networks” with people outside of our immediate professional circle suffered the most. The move to hybrid presents an opportunity to fix this. “If there are people you only know marginally,” she explains, “then maybe there were a lot of people on board and you haven’t even met them. . . . This is a really good time.”

Build these weak networks through an existing professional connection, even a weak one.

If there’s someone you know very superficially, you know they came to a meeting once . . . or you just sent an email. . . you could say, “Oh hey, I’m really trying now that things are a little less crazy to try to get to know people I’ve just emailed with better. Would you like to jump in and have a 20 minute Zoom call with me just so I can put a face to the name? If you work in the same company, they will probably say yes.”

Differentiate yourself from new connections by providing value

Technology allows us to connect with far more people than ever before, but Clark says there is downside.

“If it’s easier for you, it’s easier for everyone. The problem no longer reaches the person. The problem comes out when you reach the person. So it’s about understanding how to craft a message or craft a request that’s interesting and meaningful and attention-grabbing and actually looks a little different than what everyone else is doing.”

Her advice, especially when approaching a high-profile individual, is: differentiate yourself by making an offer that would be of rightful value to them, which means we need to get inside their head and understand what would be valuable to them.” Clark says if you do that, you can Acting “as an equal and as a colleague rather than as a supplicant.”

Practice Infinite Horizon Networking

In her book The long game, Clark introduces “Infinite Horizon Networking,” which is all about connecting with people you may not currently have an obvious reason to connect with in the future. Even the best networkers may miss the opportunity that Infinite Horizon Networking can offer. “Their bias is, ‘Oh, I’m in marketing, so I need to know marketers,’ and it doesn’t seem rewarding to nurture relationships with people outside of your field, outside of your city, outside of your sphere of influence.” She says.

Even though the payoff can take years, Infinite Horizon Networks can give us new perspectives and new information. “The further away it is, the less relevant it seems,” Clark admits, “and frankly, it might not be relevant. . . . But if it is, it is extremely relevant.”

Clark recommends TEDx events as a place to start building your Infinite Horizon Networks. “There are TEDxs all over the world, and they bring together people who are interested in a variety of ideas,” she says. university aLumni networks are another starting point.They have enough in common to talk to, but they may have ended up in very, very different regions and industries.”

Like any disruption, the shift to hybrid working presents opportunities that allow us to expand and expand our networks. Clear claims we can grow our network by up to 50 people a year by just spending an hour a week connecting with new people.

It doesn’t take much time, but the benefits can be enormous.

Author: Amine

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