As many as 75% of younger workers expect networking to feature heavily in the future.
Research by international leadership development organisation Common Purpose suggests that 68% of people expect to be part of more networks in five years time; the figure moves to 75% for the 25-44 year age group.
Confidence in networking as more than a social utility is one of the reasons workers are putting their faith in it – with many confident in the benefits of networking as a professional boost. Almost two thirds of respondents believe that networks are important to their career success.
Common Purpose has produced the following networking tips:
- Develop ‘turbulent’ as well as ‘support’ networks. The people in your turbulent network will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.
- Ensure that the purpose of the network is not to exclude others, and build a network that is bigger than the individuals involved.
- Step forward at a networking opportunity and actively seek to meet new people: Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.
- Practice taking the trouble to introduce people to each other properly, which allows you to move on to talk to someone else.
- Set yourself targets – how many new people are you going to meet and how many old relationships will you nurture? Seek the views of someone you wouldn’t normally – can you see things from their point of view?
Julia Middleton, chief executive of Common Purpose, said: “Nothing happens without networks. They are fundamental to the success and security of businesses, and present an opportunity for people to see each other’s issues, spot new ideas and see the risks that are not simply confined to one department, organisation, community or even country. We need to encourage more new networks so people can gather ideas and start to grab the opportunities that emerge from working together.”