Articles From the Team
Don't underestimate your internal network
We always put a huge emphasis on networking, but this is mostly outside the office. Networking inside the office is less talked about and so this got me thinking, do people understand the value of internal networking?
Internal networking has plenty of benefits, not just in that you might well gain access to new clients. Internal networking has been proven to increase employee engagement, retention and motivation; in addition, building internal networks helps with communication skills, problem solving and promotes knowledge sharing.
Internal networking is not only the most accessible form of networking, but it can be the most impactful. Yes, a lot of networking is to develop business, but think about your professional development too – you gain credibility, visibility in the firm and other teams (which is super important in larger firms!) and access to opportunity. You could also gain some fresh ideas and perspectives on things, broadening your views too.
The icing on the cake - it’s actually the easiest form of networking! Why? Because you already have a really good starting point in that you work for the same firm! Its common ground to build upon.
Look around you and look everywhere to build your internal network, and use it not only to get more work but to develop your ideas and source ideas from others. So often people and teams get siloed and forget that they have a network within the company which they can capitalise on.
Understanding the importance of your internal reputation and relations, could enable you to have a very successful career.
Where to start? Here are some ideas:
- Be bold! Fortune favours the brave. Reach out to someone in another team, maybe someone at the same level as you. Set up a coffee, or have a zoom meeting, or go really old school and use the telephone. Get to know that person and build a relationship. If they are not the right connection to get what you are looking for, they probably know who is – and they might even put in a good word for you!
- If you can’t be bold, be clever! If you aren’t confident enough to reach out to set up an off-the-cuff coffee meeting, then strike up a conversation about a matter you’re working on. Think of something to make the connection. You might be working on a corporate merger/acquisition and be curious to know more about the employment law involved. People love talking about what they know!
- Be patient! The thing about networking is that is rarely as easy as having one meeting and that’s it. To build strong relationships takes time. Think about your ROI – Return on Investment or to quote an early-2000s film, “is the juice worth the squeeze?” Consider the time you are spending cultivating this particular relationship; is it likely to get you where you want, will it open the doors you need it to? If yes, then play the long game.
The best case scenario here is that you connect with someone who becomes a fantastic friend and refers you a multi-million pound client, but the worst is that you at least gain visibility in different teams, and even if you didn’t strike a bond at least you will be on the radar.