Published in The Nashville Business Journal
Networking builds business knowledge and enduring friendships. I’ve been retired for a half dozen years and still have strong ties with scores of former business associates. Here are a few key ways to get engaged:
Industry associations. I learned more from my professional associations than any other single source. Spending time with my peers helped me learn in myriad ways. It also helped me judge my personal performance and that of my company.
Your company. Reinstate the daily meet-and-greet. Get to know those in other parts of your own organization. Coffee, lunch, mini meetings in the hallways — do whatever it takes to build relationships within your company.
Competitors. An occasional conversation with a competitor can do wonders to benchmark your company and your personal skills. There are plenty of non-competitive issues on which you can collaborate with the competition, sometimes to the benefit of your entire industry.
Trade shows. This is a great opportunity to meet others, build beneficial relationships and learn about the latest trends in your industry. Maximize your time by setting up short sessions with the top players in your game.
Local events. Take advantage of local business events to make new acquaintances. You can also join a nonprofit to help in the community and grow your contact base.
Friends. Keep in touch with your friends near and far. Staying connected boosts self-confidence and can be a surprising source of knowledge on a wide range of topics.
Remember, networking is about learning and growing. The broader your network, the more you will learn. Get engaged today.