Networking generates business leads that can help you and your team grow your business through sales and partnerships. However, there are 4 major reasons why people struggle with networking:
Your policies and practices discourage it.
Many people may find it unnatural or need to hone their skills.
Divisions between individuals and teams are preventing networking.
Management and team are out of step.
So, how do you get your employees to network effectively?
It’s challenging to build long-term relationships with external contacts if you have high staff turnover, shift staff around a lot or if you have longstanding staff who are resistant to moving towards a more relationship-driven business model. You may need to alter recruitment, incentive and staff development practices. Once you’ve started to cultivate an environment that encourages networking, you may still need to tackle other barriers that your team is facing.
Internal team networking will turn your staff into relationship-building pros.
The majority of people find networking difficult or unnatural. Teams can also be very territorial. Sometimes management and teams can be completely out of step with each other. Internal team networking can help you overcome these barriers.
Internal networking is when you reach out to colleagues within your organization, even if your job doesn’t require you to do so. When your team looks outside their immediate, day-to-day activities and think about how they can connect with and create value for others in your company, your company and individual team members all benefit from this. Plus, many of the same principles apply for both external and internal networking.
The Progressive Networking Dinner is an energizing, fun way for your team to get to know each other while enjoying a fabulous meal. This unique combination of ﬁne dining and team building fun begins with an “ice breaker” for the entire group. Then it’s interactive fun as you enjoy each part of the meal at a different table with different people. As your team enjoys the appetizer, salad, main course and dessert, they engage in a tabletop game or exercise and will learn more about each other, while improving team skills and building new connections.
You cannot convert your team into networking pros overnight, but you can help them improve their skills and confidence while breaking down internal barriers.
How have you overcome barriers to growing your business? Have you had success with internal team networking?