How networking changed our professional lives
Last week, LinkedIn turned 15 years old. Launched with the tagline “relationships matter” back in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, this mantra still rings true today across the business network. You will be correct in thinking that the world of work has changed and evolved immensely, all things from products and systems we use, to the jobs themselves, however, the need to connect with others to be productive and successful in our careers still remains the core of what we do and why we do it.
Since launching in 2003, Linkedin has become the world’s frontrunner when it comes to professional networking. With over 500 million members, from recent graduates to CEOs of global companies, accessible in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, LinkedIn shows no signs of slowing down.
Although new jobs have emerged and new industries have grown, some more rapidly than others, the focus and foundation of what and why we connect and cultivate our professional network is still ingrained in us today.
Like all types of social media, at the click of a button we can be instantly connected with people from all around the world. Social media has undoubtedly changed the nature of human interaction; and has become omnipresent amongst the young and old alike. For professionals, long-term career success has become dependent on human interaction via social media; especially for those seeking to achieve the highest level of position and impact.
Those who use LinkedIn to its full potential will know that there is a point in which you become bombarded with Linkedin invites of people wanting to connect with you, but knowing which invites to accept has become a trait of its own.
As life in general becomes more busy and hectic, we are up against multiple priorities and multiple people competing for our attention, be it personal or professional life. However, business men and women, and increasingly more-so nowadays, understand the true value of a strong and supportive network and the values networking can bring to you as an individual.
Being proactive and attentive about networking time can lead you to beneficial information which can broaden your own knowledge and perspective, and sometimes allow you to have fun and let go. However, if you are rational about precious networking time, you may inadvertently squander it away on activities that are not helpful to your professional goals nor are fun. So, deciding whether or not it is worth the travel time and money to meet face to face for a coffee or lunch with someone you have never met before can be a tough one.
Although business professionals may have a LinkedIn account, translating this ‘technetworking’ into a tangible meeting and then potential business can be hard. More so for those who work in the technology profession, and behind a computer screen. However, bringing those in the technology profession out from behind their computers and into the real world, they will in no doubt meet people and expand their horizons.
Real life networking events come in all shapes and sizes, at all times of day. From early morning breakfasts and sit down lunch events to cheese and wine tasting and cocktail making, there are networking events to suit most type of professionals. Being a proactive networker on LinkedIn can help you collaborate, gather and share information across industries and foster long term business relationships. However, meeting someone face-to-face, rather than connecting with someone via the internet, brings a more personal aspect to such meetings.
There is no doubt that platforms like LinkedIn will continue to fuel our need for networking. The ways in which we utilise these tools to grow and strengthen our professional networks in the future offers many opportunities, however sometimes meeting up for a coffee and a chat is proven to be more valuable for increasingly busy professional men and women.