Part 1: The Benefits of Business Networking
80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success.
Part 1 of 3
Senior IT executives will always have busy schedules. With back-to-back meetings deadlines and deliverables, making time for business networking with peers may seem like a luxury.
However, this is not the case. Strategic IT executives see networking as an essential part of the job because of the short and long-term advantages it brings to them and their teams.
85% of job vacancies are filled via business networking (Forbes, 2021), while a survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management similarly found that executives who were part of a networking group reported higher levels of job satisfaction and felt more confident in their ability to handle challenging situations.
In this three-part series, we will discuss various aspects of networking: 1) the benefits of networking 2) how to find and connect with peers and how to get the most out of your peer interactions 3) next-level networking and how to use your network to advance your career.
Networking can provide executives with many advantages, including increasing job effectiveness and efficiency as well as improving the outcome of IT initiatives. It also provides a chance to review best practices as well as explore innovative thinking and industry trends with like-minded peers.
A few of the benefits of networking include:
- Connecting with peers who have experience with similar projects and initiatives.
- Staying up to date on technologies and trends.
- Increasing IT efficiency and effectiveness.
- Providing a chance to mentor others.
- Opening the door to career expansion.
Basically, peer networking is good for both business and individual professional life. Let’s delve into these benefits a little:
1. Connect with peers
After spending most of the days with either employees or superiors, the ability to have time with peers is essential. Peer-to-peer networking, both in-person and virtually, gives you an opportunity to relax, speak frankly, and discuss issues in a way you may not be able to at the office. This opportunity to open up and share experiences is important both professionally and personally.
Networking is the most successful way of finding a meaningful job and attaining career success. 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more often.
Building trust takes time though. Once you’ve made that initial connection, it’s important to maintain those relationships with consistency, care, respect, and a practice-what-you-preach approach. Not only are you boosting the reputation of your corporation, but yourself within that reputable corporation.
2. Stay up to date on technologies and trends
Networking also allows executives to expand their industry and technology views by asking and listening to others with different experiences and knowledge. New technology and over-the-horizon initiatives are exciting and also very relevant to keeping a company’s competitive edge. Hot topics like cybersecurity are always interesting to IT executives, and there are always new things to learn. By tapping into peers, and expanding network connections, emerging developments will never stray too far from your radar.
3. Increasing IT efficiency and effectiveness
Most executives report they would lose 28% of their company’s business if they were to stop networking (Apollo Technical, 2023).
Networking with peers is also a way to keep up on technology trends and challenges. For example, often complex initiatives require input from employees, vendors, executives and outside consultants. None of these, however, have the insight of someone who has already completed a similar project or initiative that you are confronting.
This is where peer networking can make an impact. When you can reach out to a peer who knows what you are dealing with and who has experience with the technology, you can navigate the challenges much more easily, increasing efficiency and reducing rollout time. Club Captive Eight’s Peer Advisory calls are an example of this kind of peer networking.
4. A chance to be mentored or to mentor others
Mentorship is often neglected in the discussion of networking.
A mentoring relationship can be as beneficial for the mentor as it is for the mentee. New people within an industry bring different perspectives and a new network to rely upon. This mutually beneficial relationship is often very fulfilling and can define your entire career journey since strong mentees often become successful in their own careers and can then guide the next generation of business leaders.
On the flip side For IT executives, having a mentor can also be a valuable way to scale up your network, increase your understanding of the latest trends in the industry, and tap into the knowledge and experiences of other executives who have navigated comparable challenges. Not only will you be able to receive guidance from those who have successfully managed similar difficulties, but also expand your relationships to further your career, better your organization, and gain invaluable feedback to avoid future pitfalls.
5. Opens the door to career expansion
Business networking is a key part of success in your current job, but it is also important when looking for new career opportunities. 70% of jobs are never posted on job sites, meaning they are filled via networking connections. Not only does business networking increase the chance of finding new job opportunities, but it also improves the likelihood of satisfaction at your new job. Even, if you’re happy at your current job, this is no excuse to stop networking.
Networking does not halt at your current role. By expanding your network, you will simultaneously expand your career trajectory. With career growth and expansion in mind, networking for IT executives can provide access to diversified opportunities by gaining awareness of novel opportunities that may not be known on more publicized platforms. You’ll acquire access to more industry insights about trends, best practices, and emerging technological advancements to stay ahead of the curve and be in the best position for your career growth. Further, you may obtain openings with new potential clients, customers, and funding efforts through your broadened network. The enhanced access to opportunities found in networking with other high-level executives can help you expand your existing businesses, discover new revenue streams, and overall open new doors to achieve the goals of your business and your career.
It’s important to make time for networking with your peers. But when done right, a small amount of time can have the maximum result. In the next segment, we will discuss how to find and connect with peers and how to get the most out of your peer interactions.