Think back… when you’ve landed an exciting opportunity, been selected as the provider of choice, received an invitation to a special event, how did that happen? Do you know how you came by the chance? Without getting too technical, I’m willing to bet that most opportunities you’ve been granted access to were the result of one or more networking interactions from the past – whether those opportunities were professional, community oriented or purely social.
Among my assignments last week, I facilitated an ideation session for about 50 financial services professional who represented the top leadership of two companies that recently merged. They were working on getting to know one another and defining the culture of their newly forming entity. How did I happen to be invited to serve as their facilitator? It was all networking.
You see, I have been friendly for a number of years with the CEO of one of the organizations. Just a few weeks ago, in fact, we were visiting over breakfast and talked about our mutual interest in working together in the coming year. Then, that same fellow was talking to another mutual acquaintance of ours about his need for a facilitator for last week’s session. That mutual acquaintance recommended me! The triangulation was powerful. Because I have been privileged to build strong relationships with both individuals, when my name was floated as a prospective facilitator, there was no hesitation in making the ask.
After sharing that experience with a friend of mine, Laura, she smiled and shared a similar story. She told me that she recently reconnected with a buddy from college who she hasn’t seen in a number of years. Within a few months of her outreach, she was delighted to hear from him that his company was hiring and would like to engage Laura’s company to oversee the search and recruitment of qualified candidates. The project was a success and now a friendship has been re-established alongside a professional relationship.
Opportunities arise by establishing trust through relationship building – that is, through networking. Then, once you’ve been offered a chance to prove your value, by delivering on those assignments, you will likely gain access to future work and be privy to more opportunities than ever before. Take a moment to assess the reasons and ways you were able to position yourself among those being considered for opportunities in the past. By making this effort, you will be able to position yourself for future opportunities now.