Top
Looking for project management templates?
(This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you go on to buy a product through one of the links here, but it does not cost you extra. Thanks for your support! Read my full disclosure.)

Importance of Networking

Importance of networkingMy inbox is full of invites to webinars, breakfast seminars and afternoon presentations, and that’s just from vendors. Add in the professional development events from the project management groups I belong to and I could be attending something every week.

Aside from the free drinks, what are the reasons why networking is important for your career?

The answer is simple: it’s because networking is an essential part of your job, whether you know it (or like it) or not.

Will Kintish expands on this in his book . He explains 6 reasons behind the importance of networking and why you should invest time and effort into getting it right.

why networking important

Here they are, with my thoughts alongside.

1. Networking is Spotting Opportunities

Networking is not sales. Put that thought out of your head. In fact, it’s the opposite. Networking is about spotting opportunities, so you want to spend time asking questions about the person you are talking to and their business, to try to see whether they have any problems that you can help with.

In fact, in a prime example of networking gone wrong I was on the receiving end of a ‘sell’. It was at a PMI conference and I was chatting to Clark A. Campbell, author of The One Page Project Manager. Another man came over. He talked about himself and his work for what felt like a long time.

When he excused himself Clark said to me, “That was a missed opportunity for him.” He had missed the opportunity to talk to Clark – an expert on project communication and reporting, and me – an expert on and although he knew who we were and what we had done he asked us nothing beyond that. He didn’t get anything out of the conversation (and neither did we).

That’s not networking, that’s just filling up time with meaningless chatter. I remember the incident for how bad it was, but I have no clue today who that man was. So much for making an impression.

2. Networking Builds Relationships

And there is nothing project managers need more than good relationships with others at work. “Spending time on building a relationship could deliver results in the future,” Kintish writes.

If you have been project managing for a while you’ll know how important it is to cultivate relationships with stakeholders past and present, and my own research for my book,  , shows that good working relationships improves the perception of project success as well.

3. Networking is Expected

This is my favourite reason. “Even if your role isn’t explicitly to bring in new business or to market the company,” Kintish writes, “you are probably expected, as most people are, to meet new people and understand the market place as part of your role.”

This is definitely the case for project managers. You need to quickly pick up information about the new project and how do you do this? Through talking to people. That’s networking! Building your internal network is just as important as focusing on creating new contacts outside of your workplace.

4. Networking is Good For Your Projects

Kintish says that it’s a way to learn more about the business, understand the industry better and hear about the challenges faced by your contacts.

If you’re managing project stakeholders, this is important as you have to deal with the ‘what’s in it for me’ approach that many of them will take. The more you understand about their areas of the business, the easier it will be for you to demonstrate your business acumen and talk to them in language they can understand.

5. Networking Can Further Your Career

Many, many jobs aren’t advertised, so if you want to be in with a chance of getting that internal promotion or taking a role outside your company as a step up, you have to network to find out about them.

People recommend people they like, so while you might not have met the person you will be working for in the future you might have met one of their contacts who could put you forward for that dream job.

6. Networking is a Virtuous Circle

“If done right, meeting more people leads to more business and career opportunities, which leads to meeting more people and more business, and so on,” Kintish writes.

It might not feel like it now, but you never know what doors are going to open in the future, so it’s worth operating as if that next useful contact is round the corner. They probably are.

There are a lot of reasons why networking is important, but you have to balance attending events with fitting in everything else in your life. Networking doesn’t have to take up a lot of time if you look at it like this, and you consider what you are doing strategically. My short ebook on professional networking will help you focus most of your networking efforts where you think you’ll get the most payback.

Generally for project managers not looking to change jobs, that’s going to be on building your internal network within your company. Building little networking moments into your day and prioritising your internal network can be really beneficial for stakeholder engagement and your career longer term.

Boost your networking skills for only $3! Here’s a complete guide on how to actually ‘do’ networking and build your network the low stress way.

better networking skills

Get the guide here.

Image credit: The Climate Reality Project

Find out why networking is important and how to actually do it the low stress way! 6 Reasons why you should be networking

Let me into the Resource Library!

Get access to over 20 project management templates, ebooks, checklists and more. The secret password is in your confirmation email!

You can read my privacy policy here.

On the next screen you'll also have the option to subscribe to the GirlsGuideToPM.com newsletter with weekly(ish) project management tips. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

Comments

  1. Will says

    16 June, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Still fairly new at networking, I always thought of it as selling. However, I’m learning now that is not the case. With me, I feel it has to do with confidence, sometimes its intimidating to just walk up and network.

    • Elizabeth Harrin says

      19 June, 2017 at 8:54 am

      It can feel like that, but lots of other people are feeling the same way! Bear that in mind the next time you wonder whether you should approach someone, as they could well be grateful that you took the trouble to go first.

  2. Tiffany Fielder says

    6 December, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank for the great article. I have recently been reprioritizing my network of connections and trying to build and strengthen those relationships. It can be difficult to reach out, but I do find that the network I have built within my company has led to my professional success. I’ve let my external network slide, but am working on building relationships with industry professionals to help my career advance.

    You’ve definitely provoked some interesting thoughts from a PM perspective!

    • Elizabeth Harrin says

      6 December, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Thanks, Tiffany! Networking is hard work – harder than I first thought. At least, if you want to do it well and make lasting connections. It happens naturally over time, the effort is in keeping the relationships going by finding small ways to stay in touch and that’s a lot harder to do outside your own business. Good luck with your external networking efforts! Maybe that could be your professional goal for 2017?

  3. narh. joshua says

    24 October, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    My name is narh Joshua I want to be manager of networking in soo I need more books to learn hard to pass with networking program ok please help me.

  4. Georgia says

    3 November, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I couldnt agree more. Our network is our tribe and it’s how your grow yourself faster — especially if you’re part of a strong wolf-pack. great article.

  5. Erik says

    31 March, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Hello Elizabeth,
    As a result of my recent job search and hire, I have became a real fan of networking. Also, I have started a blog on how to get a job and one of my articles is called “The Importance of Networking” http://www.amoresuccessfulyou.com/getting-the-job/the-importance-of-networking/

    I think that #2 and #4 are the most related things that we discuss in our posts. I believe that networking is more than just meeting someone to say that you have met them. It is more a self growth exercise that enables you to gain an understanding of the industry.

    Let me know what you think and have a nice day!
    Erik

  6. PM-by-PM says

    12 July, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Elizabeth, Good article. Many PMs and other professionals do not realize the importance of netwroking. Networking can be and should be done within the organiztion also.

    BR,
    Praveen Malik
    http://www.pmbypm.com

    • Elizabeth says

      14 July, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks, Praveen. Networking in the organisation is probably more important for day-to-day work than networking outside, as you will benefit from good relationships with those colleagues to help on your projects.

Visit

The Shop

Check out my ebooks, template packs and other resources to help you get started and keep going on your projects
Shop now