The Lost Art of Internal Networking
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
When we talk about networking we usually mean either online, or over coffee and bacon butties. But really networking is, and should be, in all aspects of our lives: it's simply interacting with other people to build relationships. And apart from friends and family, building strong relationships with your work colleagues should surely be top of the priority list?
I mean, we spend more time with them than our actual friends or families, we need to understand what they do and why, and we need their support in order to be able to do our own jobs!
Yet it feels like internal networking has been forgotten.
Yes emails get batted around, maybe a conference call from time to time, but always with the same group of people.
When was the last time you sat down with a colleague, whom you don't interact with on a daily basis, and just talked to them about their job? What they're working on. Exciting new projects in the pipeline. Ideas they've got for improving efficiency, or just opinions on the crappy coffee.
Even better: when was the last time you went into a completely different department and started chatting to people about their jobs, their ideas and their opinions on the crappy coffee?
Building strong relationships across the business you work in, not matter what size, is a hugely advantageous thing to do. It will help you better understand the organisation as a whole, and you'll be able to personally recommend people for opportunities and to pull them in on projects. You'll have a network of contacts across departments you can call on for advice and support, and learn from (always learn from!).
It goes both ways: you'll get called upon to give your opinions (not just on the coffee), and your name will be put forward for exciting new projects, and you'll be recommended for opportunities you would never have heard about were it not for your amazing internal network!
So if you've got your Christmas party coming up, or a work conference, or a lunch break! Take the opportunity to develop your network, your knowledge, and potentially your career simply by saying 'hi' to a colleague you've maybe never met before.