Power Networking 2.0: Building Your Inner Circle To Win

There’s a knack to building a community, from conferences to the comfort of your home, here's how to do it

By Hannah Connolly

28 June 2023

Mentoring is cool, but friendship is where real networks deepen and where real money flows,” says Stack World Founder Sharmadean Reid. After 15 years of building women’s communities, Reid’s insight into networking is a masterclass in the do’s and don’ts of building your own.

If you’re looking to scope out your circle, there are several tools to have in your belt to get it right. Whether you are looking to forge a thriving community of fellow founders, earn a salary increase, or climb the corporate ladder, having a power network at your disposal is a critical element in the success formula.

In fact, according to research conducted by PNAS, maintaining close networks can help women progress in competitive industries, and those with inner circles become more likely to achieve leadership positions within their desired fields.

Establish your mission

The first step to securing your power network is to narrow in on what you want to achieve – your higher mission, dream role, or the next step for your company. Knowing this lets you identify traits in like-minded individuals and build up your network.

Though being open-minded is just as important, knowing what you are looking for shouldn’t prevent organic meetings and interactions that allow for unexpected connections.

Make the first move

Being approachable and approaching others is vital. This doesn’t mean to say you have to be the most extroverted person in the room; instead, you have to be willing to make the first move on occasion.

An easy place to start as a new hire heading into the office is by the coffee machine – your morning chat could lay the foundations for your next business venture or moving up to the next rung of the career ladder.

Face-to-face is best

Networking is absolutely viable online and strongly recommended, but reinforcing those connections in person strengthens the bonds exponentially (where possible).

Research suggests that in-person is the best way to build your phone book. Zippia, the digital platform aligning applicants with the right carer paths, conducted a study which revealed that 95% of professional participants felt face-to-face connections are essential to long-term success. Yet, despite this, the same study also detailed that 50% do not maintain contact.

Connecting with your network is vital to its continued success, so remember to meet in person whenever possible. Also, pay attention to the more obvious meeting points by keeping your eye on the corporate calendar of your industry.

Conferences, seminars and away days are more accessible locations to navigate, with networking being at the forefront of the agenda, and will become a great way to leverage your own network’s power in the future.

It’s a two-way street

It’s important to remember not to expect anything immediately from connections. True power networks are about a deep shared goal or desire. Networking relies on mutual participation and effort, so for yours to thrive, you must be an active participant.

The goal is to elevate and back your community, becoming a circular economy of support. Within this dynamic, mentorship relationships will develop organically, creating an ecosystem of early-stage to late-stage career or journey networking.

Networking isn’t just about early-stage development

At the start of your career or mission, networking is often a top priority, and you may find yourself putting more concerted effort in at this stage versus being in a mid-weight or senior-level role. It is important to note that networking continues to be a vital tool in your kit to sustain lasting success.

Even at C-suite levels or as the owner of your business, your inner circle will continue to play a vital role. Remember to continue nurturing and developing community at every level of your journey.

This is your A-Team

From personal needs such as lawyers, medical advice or tips on securing your first home to business fundamentals, your network is a resource hub. Ensure no knowledge is siphoned and that the collective gains from an individual area of expertise. Consider this your A-Team and constantly seek ways to strengthen and develop those collaborations.

The Short Stack

There’s a knack to building a community here's how to do it

By Hannah Connolly

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