Networking with Intent

Jan 18, 2024

Science and personal experiences have shown repeatedly that your social capital (the value of your relationships) complements and amplifies your human capital (your skills and abilities). A strong network is the cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling career.

In our hyper-connected world, the size of professional networks has expanded dramatically. Unfortunately, that growth has led to a world full of noise, superficial relationships and an erosion of trust. As a result, we end up hanging out on social networks, collecting contacts, networking aimlessly at events and posting constant updates online. For many, that is what networking has come to represent.

We see it differently. We view networking as the act of engaging in mindful, meaningful and mutually beneficial interactions. This approach to networking is collaborative and communal. It leads to deeper relationships and a stronger network.

We call this networking with intent.

The three building blocks of networking with intent, and you’ll see us repeating these often, are: discover, nurture and harness. By understanding your network and the needs of your contacts, investing time and effort into strengthening your relationships, and making the right connections, you will find that when the time comes, your network will be there to help you achieve your goals.

Discover Your Network

More often than not, you already have a network, you just don’t have proper visibility over it. Networking with intent starts with shining a light on your network. To network effectively, you need to have a holistic view of your network as a whole, as well as details on your contacts and the nature of your connection, your relationship history and shared experiences, their skills and interests, and how they fit into your network. Beyond that, understanding how your network needs to change to better achieve your goals, what your contacts need and how you can help them, and discovering meaningful information in a timely fashion will set you up for success. The ability to explore your network and discover opportunities within it lays the foundation for future success.

Nurture Your Relationships

Next, you need to invest in your network and relationships. Nurturing is a process, one that you actively commit to. Growing and nurturing a network takes time and effort, it involves helping out where you can without expecting an immediate return and patiently building and maintaining a positive reputation in the knowledge that it will pay off down the line. By approaching networking with a collaborative mindset, building bridges, connecting people and helping others succeed, you will strengthen your existing relationships and grow new ones.

Harness Your Connections

Finally, it’s time to harness your network. To begin, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals and who in your network can help you achieve them, and you need to make your needs and interests clear.

Networking with intent can help you achieve your goals in two ways:

  1. Passively: The goodwill you have garnered, reputation you’ve established and relationships you’ve nurtured will often lead to serendipitous opportunities coming your way.

  2. Proactively: With the work you’ve done, and by reaching out to the right person with a properly framed request, you significantly increase the chances that it is not lost in the noise and that you receive a positive response.

By approaching networking systematically, you are laying a solid foundation for the future and making an investment that will pay dividends down the line.

In future posts, we will take a closer look at these concepts and how you can apply them. Join our waitlist today and start networking the right way.

© Dunbar GmbH 2024