Internal networking is just as important as external networking. Internal networking can sometimes be overlooked in favour of external networking (or at least not maximised in the way it should be). Internal networking is often key in getting what you want and generally succeeding in the workplace.
Add Internal Networking to your Networking Strategy
Integrate some “internal” networking into your networking strategy and once a month catch up with each person on your team (or internal contacts you want to get to know better). Go for a coffee, lunch or drink after work – whatever happens to suit your timetable.
Don’t always talk about work stuff
There is more to life than work. One of the key things for internal networking is to not always talk about the work stuff, take an interest in your colleague’s family or hobbies. Keep it professional but try to find something a bit more personal to talk about. If you don’t know them well enough why not try one of our conversation starters.
Ask your colleagues how you can help them
In addition to meeting up with colleagues regularly, helping them out can be a great way to build a relationship with your colleagues. Each week find a way to ask someone on your team (or further afield) how you can help them. What can be a challenge for others can often ve a simple favour/email/knowledge share from you. It can be a great way to get to know people you don’t have a natural rapport with and / or simply an opportunity to get to know people in a different way.
Helping someone out isn’t always work related, some of your colleagues will have other activities and causes outside of the office. You should try to find it out and support your colleagues’ good causes by attending, volunteering or donating to their causes. It always makes a great talking point and helps show you are supportive and want to build a relationship with them.
Connect colleagues with others
Take every chance to introduce people from different parts of your firm or company where you can. Connect them with internal contacts, external contacts etc. Your connecting efforts will be appreciated.
Take an interest
Take your time to get to know your colleagues and take an interest in their lives and interests. Use “how was you weekend?” small talk to actually learn more about your colleagues and show that you are taking an interest. Taking an interest can also help you find things that you have in common with your colleagues to help you get to know them better and strengthen your relationship with them.
Share other people’s achievements and congratulate them on their successes
Don’t make it all about you. Don’t make it about office politics. Create a supportive and inclusive environment to work in. A great way to do this is to share and highlight other people’s achievements and promote these internally. It not only shows that you have taken an interest, but it also shows that you can be bothered to make an effort. This can also be simple things like wishing someone happy birthday or dropping by (or sending them a quick email) if someone else has brought a success /achievement of another colleague to your attention.