What is networking and how to organize it

Max Miller
Max Miller
12 February 2024
8 min

The word “networking” sounds unfamiliar to our ears, although everyone is engaged in it during his life: getting acquainted, making useful connections, joining communities. The term itself comes from the English language. It combines two parts: “net” and “work”, which literally translate as “network” and “work”. That is, networking is the creation of a network of acquaintances that helps in career, simplifies many work processes, and positively influences a person’s life. Today we will talk in more detail about the benefits it brings to business. How to properly use this technique for personal and work purposes? We will reveal the secrets of successful networking. Let’s find out how to make it a successful tool for career advancement.

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What it is

In simple words, networking is the creation of useful acquaintances in the form of a network of contacts, where participants interact with each other for mutual benefit. This procedure is a kind of investment in the future: you get acquainted with people who may be useful in your company or career and keep in touch with them. The larger your social circle, the more opportunities you have.

For example, let’s imagine that you are an experienced manager who performs project management. At a product design conference, you meet a representative of a well-known brand. You discuss industry issues with him, exchange opinions on the speakers, and leave each other contacts. A couple weeks later, he contacts you, offering to work together on a new company project because he likes your approach to management.

Using this format of communication, it is possible to share knowledge, how to organize joint leisure time, or how to solve many important issues, including employment. After all, more than 85% of vacancies are closed through connections and contacts established within the industry. And 80 – 90% are not posted in the public domain at all.

A session should not be confused with a cursory exchange of business cards and on-duty communication at trainings or other events. By sharing your contacts with a new acquaintance, having a few words with him, you are not making a useful acquaintance. Pay attention to the thick stack of business cards dusting in your business card holder or desk drawer. You will see there a huge number of cards with contact information that you have never used. They are simply stored there “until better times”. In this way you will only add to your list of business cards.

Relationship building is based on long and comfortable communication with the person you are interested in. You talk to him in a relaxed atmosphere, find out what your interlocutor does, ask how he/she conducts work processes, exchange opinions on topical issues, share experience. This communication will be mutually beneficial to you and him.

Networking is not just for CEOs or sales people. It helps in career advancement in any field, be it manufacturing or education. Numerous studies in the field of sociology have long proved that a person’s environment directly affects his or her performance. Therefore, surrounding yourself with successful people who have achieved certain heights in their business, it means that sooner or later you will rise to the top.

How networking works

How networking works

The theory of six handshakes is the basis of this technique. It is conventionally assumed that absolutely all people know each other through five friends, relatives or colleagues. Such acquaintances of the project team leader will be his subordinates, as well as engaged freelancers, representatives of the client’s side, and external consultants.

All people communicate with each other, get acquainted, join communities of interest, for example, in the same social networks. The main thing is to benefit from these processes. No one will be interested in you, or invite you to a project or a new job, without finding out what you are good at and what you do.

A proper networking session is built on sharing information about yourself and others. Once you have made new and useful contacts, you need to stay in their field of vision. For example, several years have passed after graduation, and it is quite likely that many of your fellow students have probably achieved certain heights in some directions. They could be useful to you in the future, but if after your studies your connection was cut off, it will be, strangely enough, but at least not tactful to address them.

For some people, acquaintances arise spontaneously: they are sociable from birth and know how to make people feel at ease. But in the modern world, even introverts can use such a useful tool.

Types of networking

In the professional sphere, three types of networking are distinguished:

  • Operational. It includes people related to current activities (manager, employees, suppliers, customers).
  • Personal. This includes all personal contacts outside of work. These may include former colleagues, friends, teachers, acquaintances from conferences.
  • Strategic. This combines the two previous types. Example: a close friend and part-time colleague who used to work with you in the company, who quit but stayed in the same field.

Depending on the psychological aspect, it comes in:

  • Beneficial (“giving much more than I receive”).

When making useful connections for the future, you should, in the first stages, bring some benefit to your new acquaintances. This solution helps at the beginning of your career, when networking requires a lot of effort. This type of networking is like sowing seeds in fertile soil. You should not expect instant results from such actions. Grains should germinate, give sprouts. Their growth must be supported to reap the rewards. This is suitable for representatives of business circles, recruiting for themselves a team of performers below their rank. An experienced networker helps them in their formation, development, shares knowledge and experience to get a team of like-minded people.

  • Negative (“I only take”).

It can be compared to manipulation or to market relations, from which each participant derives his own benefit. A person thinks: “I need new acquaintances for some purposes, so I will help them too. Using this model of networking, it is possible to create a strong environment around you that helps in business and career development.

  • Mixed (“I give and I take away”).

It is a kind of compromise between the two previously described types. Its participants are both useful to others and benefit themselves. Only to get the necessary result, you have to give something away first. And then you have to get your bonus in return.

A different type of networking is appropriate for each individual situation and environment. Not always the people you are interested in need your help. And you often do not need advice and consultations from your friends and acquaintances. Therefore, there is no need to try to apply it where it is inappropriate. If you can not establish communication with the interlocutor, do not torture him and yourself, switch to others. Following the theory of six handshakes, you may well reach him through other people.

Rules of networking

Rules of networking
  • Think about how you can benefit a new acquaintance. How can you solve his problem or important task?
  • Be positive and energetic. Communication with you should bring positive emotions to the interlocutor. After all, according to psychologists, the first impression when getting acquainted by 56% depends on emotions and non-verbal ways of interaction.
  • Do not overload the interlocutor with unnecessary information, do not dump your problems on him. Start with a short conversation, exchange contacts. In subsequent communication, you will be able to discuss things that are important to you and him. Carry business cards with you for a quick exchange of contact information.
  • Do not try to sell or impose anything. This instantly spoils the impression and discourages you. Show interest in the interlocutor, even if you plan to use your acquaintance for personal gain.
  • Speak briefly and clearly about yourself, presenting your virtues in a favorable light, but avoid excessive boasting.
  • Learn the art of communication, formulate interesting questions so that your interlocutor is eager to answer them.
  • Competently build a hierarchy of acquaintances, paying more attention to those members of the group who will bring you real benefits or help you in a particular situation.
  • Don’t turn into a “crazy collector”, constantly expanding your social circle, adding more and more contacts to it. In order for the business network you have organized to work effectively and bear fruit, you need to maintain and strengthen your connections on a regular basis.

“Never lunch alone”: this is perfect for networking. Invite a new acquaintance to lunch to discuss personal and work matters in an informal setting.

Advantages and disadvantages

By practicing networking, you will get the following preferences:

  1. Saving time on key work tasks.
  2. Make your business more successful and your life more interesting.
  3. Increase your motivation by improving your mindset and interest in your own business.
  4. It will be easier for you to find clients, move up the career ladder.

The tool also has its minuses:

  1. The need to maintain business relationships on an ongoing basis.
  2. It causes difficulties for introverts. But, in this case, social networking comes to the rescue.
  3. You may be used by other people from new contacts. It is better to exclude them from your social circle at once.

Benefits of networking

This method helps with career development, which provides access to new opportunities. By establishing mutually beneficial communication with influential, successful people, you will open doors to new projects, tasks and clients. You will gain valuable experience, learn about new trends, and improve your professional skills.

Using the “right” acquaintances, you will expand your company’s client base and attract new partners. This will strengthen the reputation and positive image of your company.

Networking formats

Networking formats

Business networking takes place in offline and online modes. In the first case, communication takes place at various business events, conferences, where people can make useful acquaintances.

The best options for offline networking are:

  • Seminars, trainings;
  • Coffee breaks, business lunches;
  • Charity events;
  • Thematic business forums, exhibitions;
  • Visiting communities of interest;
  • Trips to other organizations.

Online networking has become widespread thanks to the intensive development of the Internet. It is organized through social networks, webinars, communication on professional platforms. This option is especially useful for freelancers, remote workers who have limited opportunities for “live” interaction.

The best environments for online networking are online conferences, professional social media groups, work and dating apps, online courses, and webinars.

How to organize networking

So, we have talked about how the methodology works. Now let’s focus on how to use this tool in practice.

  1. Leave a positive impression of yourself. Learn to present yourself beautifully and succinctly. Speak briefly and clearly, avoiding general dry phrases. Prepare beautiful, stylish business cards that emphasize your image.
  2. Master the art of socializing. To make useful acquaintances, it is better to go to events alone. Show up early and linger after they’re over. This will increase your chances of having productive conversations. Focus on the people who are useful to you specifically, do not scatter your attention. Be polite and observe the rules of etiquette.
  3. Reinforce new connections. Always leave “hooks” with which you can remind yourself after the first meeting. For example, you can send a link to a new acquaintance with a recording of a business conference and then resume a dialog with them.

How to use the LeaderTask service for networking

How to use the LeaderTask service for networking

Networking is based on constant mutually beneficial communication. But it often becomes difficult to maintain it, especially when you are in different countries or cities with a potential contact, given the huge number of work and personal affairs. To remember important dates, meetings, events planned with the participation of new acquaintances, you can take the help of task manager LeaderTask.

The program is suitable for creating and maintaining projects, fixing and completing tasks. In it you can store important information regarding new connections, customize notifications about upcoming events. The application will help to establish effective communications with team members, will keep you in the loop. You will be able to effectively and intelligently plan the busiest day to find time in it for productive and useful communication with new acquaintances. The service works on all digital platforms, including without internet.


For effective networking, prepare for all meetings in advance. Do not rely on personal charm and improvisation. Formulate plans in advance, prepare a self-presentation, detail your strengths, think about what you can offer to the person you are interested in (for convenience use planner LeaderTask). Prepare a quality business card with your contacts.

Be active: communicate, ask questions, participate in discussions. Listen attentively, show respect for your interlocutors. Regularly “nurture”, maintain newly established relationships.

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