Building relationships can have a profound impact on your career. We’ve talked about being strategic about building those relationships, and we’ve shared tips about developing mentors and attracting sponsors. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that not all networking has to be pre-planned. There are a myriad of opportunities to build relationships on a more spontaneous basis if you’re open and ready to engage with others. Whether you take an extra five minutes at the coffee station to introduce yourself to the newest hire or attend company events with the idea of meeting new people, there is always a way to put yourself out there and build the relationships that could be the key to your next career move. Embrace spontaneous opportunities to build relationships.
If you’re open and interested in meeting new people, you will start to see opportunities that you may not have noticed before. Perhaps it’s when you’re waiting for an elevator, in the line at the company cafeteria, or attending a lunch and learn. What would happen if you struck up a conversation with the person next to you – introduced yourself and were curious about them? Who might you encounter if you chose to sit in the breakroom instead of eating lunch at your desk? What might happen if you were to make it a practice to sit next to people you don’t know at conferences and events? Be mindful of time and other demands during these interactions, but don’t be afraid to take a few minutes to engage. You may make a new friend or learn something you didn’t know or brighten someone else’s day. The possibilities are endless. Build relationships when the opportunities present themselves as you work on creating the career you want.
More information on this tip can be found in Lead Your Way: Practical Coaching Advice for Creating the Career You Want