Networking Etiquette

Have you ever heard of this brand called ‘Amway’? I guess many would have. This dates back to early 2000’s when I saw my father giving an introduction about Amway products and how people can build networks by selling Amway’s products. These networks would grow & eventually lead to higher income. Not only Amway, but many other organizations build this network chain. They understood that value creation happens not only internally but externally as well.

Networking, or maybe, I should write it in bold – NETWORKING, to emphasize the importance of this term in our professional lives. Be it any country – India, US, Germany and so forth, only once we have a value adding network, then we would have built a base for ourselves where opportunities reach out to us. I would like to strategize on this topic and share my perspectives on the same.

As a newcomer to Germany, I was quite shy to initially break the ice and meet people from different backgrounds. As many of you readers might know about Adithya (one of the founders of Reflections), he was my first go to person during my masters in Germany because of his experience. Therefore, he was my first key to begin this ‘networking’ journey. I slowly understood the importance of it. Many of us just keep a boundary on this term ‘Networking’ and restrict it to job search. I would like to emphasize, that this is a completely wrong approach to this wonderful concept. There must be value addition to the talk by bringing a topic on the table or learning about the current trends in the market. This allows you to understand the market scenario and gives you a basic understanding of the cross-disciplinary functions. Have you ever heard of the term ‘radical innovation’? It allows us to bring our knowledge from a far distant field to a completely new dimension. ‘Networking’ allows us to expand our horizons and enables us for this radical innovation and continuous improvement.

So how to accomplish this? Have you heard of LinkedIn? Have you heard of Xing? Does your university have alumni meetups? Are you part of the German VDI (google that)? If you haven’t, let us take a sneak peek into how to get the best out of these platforms. On LinkedIn, the initial contact request that we send to add a person into our network is quite significant. Once we send a request with a message as to what we found in their profile or what post did they shared, goes a long way. Maintaining that contact is equally important and I usually follow a simple rule of an exchange every 3 months. This has helped me and as I write, I already had an initial contact setup with 5 different people through a professional network. I also had a talk with a HR regarding an exciting position last week, which was through the strength of my ‘Network’. Yesterday, I had a small chat with an influential person from the entrepreneurship cell of IIT Kharagpur. I am so excited to be able to have such a strong network and I would love to make it even more stronger. I believe that we all should have this zeal not just for becoming a successful professional but to have a new perspective on just any topic. While enduring the everyday personal and professional life, we forget to take out 10 minutes to reach out to people who are starting their careers, people at the mid-senior level or even with people at management positions like country heads. Reach out to them! Build chains!

If you are reading this, you already are someway connected to Reflections. You have already taken a step towards your professional growth and now is your chance to expand your wings by NETWORKING further.

You can connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss further on this topic & of course expand your network too!

Guest Post by Kumar Sourav

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