Networking and Reaching Out: How to develop friendships in a working environment

The connections you make in the workplace, by allowing people to get to know you, can open up opportunities years down the track. Building strong friendships in the workplace can be some of the best networking you can do. Developing friendships within the company (i.e. by getting to know people in different areas of the company, or by getting to know some of the managers in your area of expertise) could help you advance through the ranks. However, during day to day activities , we may not be thinking about this because we’re just trying to get our jobs done.

Remember, networking is all about connecting and sharing with others. It’s about getting to know people and have more meaningful relationships. It’s not about getting to meet lots of new people, but rather getting to know the ones who you have already met better.

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Developing friendships in the working environment is the perfect way to make connections

Your aim to develop friendships in the working environment may be focused on just getting to know people and becoming friends, without any other intentions. However, this is a perfect environment to make connections, build friendships and really get to know people in your workplace. Since, the people in your workplace share the same industry, these connections may become really valuable years later.

Building a friendship with people you know takes time to build the connection. Try making a list of 90 workplace connections. You contact about 3 per day – perhaps giving an introduction between two individuals with similar interests or perhaps they are interested in the same topic at work. You can send a relevant article or share some compassion – perhaps congratulate them on a project are working on or share with them your findings on a project you might be working on.

Networking is all about connecting and sharing with others

Your list may not number 90, but just once a month, make a connection with the people on your list. They will be more aware of you, and month by month, they’ll get to know you a bit more. Now, if you see them in the office, you have something to talk about, and you will start to break down any barriers.

Direct Outreach for higher levels of management

The second approach you can consider is developing friendships with people in higher levels of management – these are people you don’t know but would like to. This type of activity is described as “direct outreach”. This is building awareness of yourself with influential people. In BookYourselfSolid®, you create a list of 20 people who you would like to know but don’t know.

In the workplace, you may be able to get someone to introduce you, then you work at keeping and building the connection. You don’t want to send them unnecessary emails – that’s just spam. You need to do your homework , find out what they are interested in then share items in a considered way. With your Outreach, you want to be valuable, individualised , targeted and legitimate. Do your homework and find out as much as you can about what interests these people. Remember , if its not been asked for and it doesn’t grab there attention, then it will be thought as spam.

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One great way is to have an after hours activity, like Touch Football or Basketball. You can invite people in the workplace along – this is a perfect way to break down barriers on a social event and have people get to know you, outside of the office environment.

You need to do your homework , find out what they are interested in then share items in a considered way

Reach out on a regular basis

Just reach out to one person a day monthly – if you choose senior executives that are people who are influential, these people may be able to give you support in getting your next role. You need to identify who will be best at supporting you in your workplace, find some common ground then contact them once a month adding some value. Once you know them well enough you can transfer them to your list of 90.

The more you get to know people in your workplace – building stronger relationships – the more they will be able to support you with advancement and even getting outside jobs into the future. You want to stay front of mind, then when the time is right , your diligent work with networking and reaching out to senior management – will make a high for your career.

Featured Photo credit: chichacha / Foter / CC BY


Adrienne McLean Corporate shots 012_edited-5Adrienne McLean
Adrienne McLean is the Founder of The Speakers Practice, which offers Presentation Skills training program for business people, individuals, teenagers and groups. Adrienne is an Internationally Accredited SpeakersTrainingCamp Instructor and is a Distinguished Toastmaster. Adrienne has studied marketing with Michael Port the author of the Top Business and Marketing book – BookYourselfSolid.

Adrienne, with her experience of growing up in a family business, working in the corporate and small business sector plus building her own business, gives an enthusiastic and practical approach to the benefits of presentation skills development, learning to promote yourself and building a successful business. She is a regular presenter, blogger and a contributing author in four recent business publications.

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