Intentional Networking

“It’s only when we learn how to move together that we start to move faster.”

Janine Garner

In the modern world filled with rapid change and challenge, we can’t move forward in life on our own. We all want to achieve our long-term goals, and we can do so more quickly if we work together. Establishing a strategic network is the most effective way to take ownership and responsibility for our direction and decision. Relationship building and fostering relationships are essential aspects of networking that make our lives more efficient. 

Our network determines how much power and influence we have in our society. People we know and how much they invest in us propel us up the ranks in every way imaginable. We can transform our lives by intentionally aligning ourselves with the right people. By understanding the essentials of networking, we can grow personally and professionally.

Connecting and working with the relevant people while freely sharing knowledge and thoughts with those who have a deeper understanding of our progress enables us to build a network for personal growth.

Larry Summers, from the US Treasury Department and the World Bank, is credited as Sheryl Sandberg’s first and most significant mentor. Fashion designer Yves St Laurent attributes his knowledge about the foundation of art to Christian Dior. Meeting with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on a regular basis taught Mark Zuckerberg about business and management techniques. Our worth and accomplishments are closely tied to others in our circle, as we can see from this network of successful individuals.

What’s Networking?

Networking is a process of developing mutually beneficial relationships during our professional, educational, and other interactions. It is a system of forming a support system in the process of meeting new people, getting to know them, and forming mutually beneficial relationships.

A successful relationship development improves our career and personal life. Connecting with others, especially those who can widen our perspectives, offer guidance and support, and act as resources, is the core component of networking.

An ideal network consists of contacts in our personal and professional spheres from whom we may learn from, receive encouragement from, be inspired by, and gain insight while looking for and pursuing job prospects.

Furthermore, we should consider how we can benefit others as well. Sharing our best practices, connecting colleagues with people in our network, exchanging new ideas, lessons learned, and opportunities, mentoring someone in our field, remaining open to collaboration on novel projects, and being respectful of and welcoming of other ideas are all ways we can help others network effectively.

Importance of Networking

The majority of successful people, according to studies, are surrounded by competent people. True success comes from surrounding ourselves with a robust, tight network of people who work for and with us.

Through networking, we have the opportunity to strengthen our social and business connections. It is a way to create mutually beneficial relationships, establish new acquaintances and broaden social networks.

As it broadens our knowledge and provides us with the chance to learn more about our area(s) of interest, it is an advantage to our knowledge. We meet peers who can offer advice and guidance through networking. It is a means of encouraging the exchange of new ideas. Last but not least, developing our professional network can help us improve our professional presence and serve as a valuable resource for colleagues. It increases our trustworthiness and reputation. Overall, the significant benefit of networking is enhancing our professional brand.

Platforms for Networking

We have many possibilities for mentorship, intellectual exchange, and expansion of our knowledge and understanding of a wide range of topics when we engage with people from different career backgrounds, personal interests, and life experiences. We should be on the lookout for new connections through various activities such as field trips, networking receptions, cultural events, and even while taking public transportation. Every new connection should be viewed as a potential new relationship, and we should be open, proactive, and focused on making the most of all the opportunities and people we meet. In this day and age of technology, new contacts can be made not just through networking events or one-on-one meetings but also through virtual interactions.

Nontraditional or proactive networking activities could include inviting someone to meet you at a coffee shop for an informal discussion, participating in a book club, attending a cultural event, volunteering on campus or in the community, reaching out to university faculty or staff outside of the classroom, or staying up-to-date with social media accounts of organizations in your areas of interest.

Some examples of networking platforms in our country include AWIB, Rotract, Toastmasters, and volunteering at an NGO.

AWIB is a networking platform that connects women in leadership so they may collaborate to advance their careers. Many long-lasting professional and social ties are created at AWIB. Through weekly and monthly get-togethers, people from various walks of life come together to exchange ideas and build relationships. Members of the group are forming close friendships and ties with one another on both a professional and personal level, according to testimonials from AWIB members.

Types of Networking

  1. Professional Networking

Our professional network may fit into one of these three categories depending on with whom we establish contacts on a professional level:

Making connections with professionals outside of our organization is referred to as personal networking. For instance, we might establish relationships in professional associations, charities, volunteer organizations, etc.

Building solid business ties with individuals within our organization, such as our coworkers in various departments, is referred to as operational networking.

The two types of professional networking stated above are combined in strategic networking, which enables us to build a wide professional network made up of people from various backgrounds.

  1. Non-Professional Networking

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Professional networks are as unique as the individuals who seek to establish them. Someone in our field of work might also find an intriguing cultural activity in our area that we participate in. We can use this as an opportunity to network by inviting someone we want to get to know better. Our ability to identify nontraditional networking opportunities can help us in both our personal and professional careers

Traditional networking platforms in our nation are thought to have originated with the well-known Ethiopian coffee ritual. During the roasting, boiling, and drinking of coffee, strong social ties are created, with a number of issues being brought up and discussed.

How to engage in an effective networking platform?

Networking is all about building quality connections through strategically identifying and engaging with selected individuals who can help us achieve our goals. A networking event brings together individuals who want to talk, interact, and form professional or personal relationships.

The path to exponential growth is through transformational networking. The secret is to establish connections with a variety of people to gain a competitive edge. By identifying our areas of weakness, we might look for a connection with someone who excels in those areas.

To start a networking platform, we should have the right people and relationships in our professional and personal lives. The structure of networking events is diverse. Some may allow people to interact in a relaxed setting, meeting people as they see fit. An activity, such as a presentation, may be the focus of other networking events, or it may be used to provide a structured way for people to meet each other.

Essential steps to organize a successful networking event

The first stage in planning a networking platform or event is to have a clear purpose. Identifying the purpose is beneficial to have a thorough awareness of the event’s audience, structure, and other crucial components. If there is a clear objective, a lot of people may participate since they will have a clear understanding of how the event will benefit them personally or professionally. Organizing a seminar or lecture, connecting professionals who attended a certain university, connecting experts who belong to a particular demographic, raising money for a good cause or charity, connecting people in a specific sector or profession, teaching professionals a certain skill, like budgeting or social media for business, or enlisting people are all potential objectives of a networking event.

After identifying our purpose, the next step is defining our target audience so that we can determine the event structure and a way to market the event. There may be rather evident target demographics for some networking events. For instance, if the goal of our event is to connect medical professionals, the event would be marketed to that group.

When deciding on the format and specifications of a networking event, we should keep our target audience in mind. If we believe that participants already know each other, we may host a more relaxed event where people can mingle and talk freely. If the gathering grows in size, we may include some time for speed networking, giving attendees a set amount of time to introduce themselves to one person at a time.

When it comes to a location, we must be on the lookout for a place that fits our goal and format. In a bar or hotel lobby, small to medium-sized networking meetings with a relaxed atmosphere might be successful. If we are holding a class or presentation, it is advisable to rent a convention center or community hall with sound and projection capabilities. Making a reservation for our venue in advance is crucial to guarantee that we have the space our event needs. 


A strong, connected, and mutually beneficial network is the stepping stone to success. We will be inspired to take the right actions and motivated to strive toward our objectives if we surround ourselves with thinkers and doers who may have previously achieved our goals or are in the process of doing so.

“The executive who consistently ranks in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and well-being have diverse but selected networks made up of high-quality relationships with people who come from several different spheres and from up and down the corporate hierarchy,” as stated in ‘Managing Yourself, A Smarter Way to Network’ (Harvard Business Review, July 2011),

By exposing us to new chances and introducing us to more people, networking promotes our professional and intellectual development. It morphs into a shoulder to weep on and vent on or a torrent of ideas to assist us to get through, through personal and/or professional slumps. Additionally, it exposes us to fresh perspectives, which broadens our understanding of the world as we know it.

Analyzing our environment by inquiring; who is my network now? Who should be in my network now? How can we work together as a group to effect change? will assist us in developing strong relationships that will advance us.

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