As a self-proclaimed introvert, networking has never been my strong suit. But in our profession – or any profession - networking is critical for professional growth and success. Without networking, we miss out on crucial opportunities for advice, connection, mentorship and sponsorship.
As the common core of Boomer Consulting communities, networking has proven its importance and ability to accelerate a firm or individual to the next level. As we approach our Boomer Technology Circle Fall Meetings, I thought I would share, from my experience, the reasons networking is such an important tactic in the accounting profession today.
Relationships are important! Whether personal or professional, we all need the connections that networking creates for us. It propels us to success. With the right people in your networking circle, you can create a trustworthy, dynamic group that wants to help each other succeed.
Networking is Internal and External
When it comes to sharing ideas and experiences, I benefit the most from realizing my networking can come from internal as well as external situations. At Boomer Consulting, we network on a daily basis. Some might call it collaboration. It is the theory that ideas flow. People work together to help each other with problems and solutions. Relationships are built. Discoveries are made.
Networking is Not About Selling
What is networking not? Selling. A large part of my realization about the benefits of networking was getting past the fact that it is not selling and it is not all about business. My background is not in the accounting profession, so I was often intimidated about talking to accounting professionals about those topics or ideas. But by looking at the conversation as a way to create a relationship and get to know an individual on a personal basis it became easier and more natural. I took selling out of the conversation, and it took the pressure away.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Working at Boomer Consulting has given me more opportunities to network and I have learned that I can turn networking into a confidence building tool. Instead of networking being something that I fear, I now look forward to getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people. The more occasions I am placed in, the stronger I feel and the more benefit I get out of it. By thinking of networking as a positive tool, it has helped me realize my potential for growth.
One of the most important aspects of networking for me is the follow up that occurs once you leave the meeting or conference. One can network to their heart’s content in person, but after the meeting is over and everyone goes home, now what?
As part of my MasterMinds Pros Group for Project Managers, I have made it a habit after each meeting to send a follow-up email to thank everyone for a great meeting. This starts the conversation up again and allows people to comment back, get your updated contact information and opens the door for them to reach out if they want to chat. We also meet as a group quarterly to talk about things we have been doing or any new tools/software we have started using. The follow up afterward allows us to continue our conversations online. Beyond the face to face networking, our discussions never stop.
Are you looking for your next networking opportunity? Visit boomer.com to learn more about our industry leading communities and services.
Erin Cheever, MA
Boomer Consulting, Inc.