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Posted June 07, 2016 by

7 tips for networking in the workplace

Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.

If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Know yourself well.

If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

2. Treat others well.

Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

4. Don’t do halfalogues.

What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

5. Address people by name.

This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

“I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


Posted June 14, 2013 by

Want an Increase on Those Entry Level Jobs? 7 Steps to Getting Raises Consistently

Do you feel like you deserve more money on your job?  If so, the following post has seven steps to getting raises consistently on entry level jobs and other positions.

“Hey, Taylor,” says your boss as he interrupts your workflow. “Would you mind if I gave you $2,640 more this year than I did last year?” (That’s a six percent raise on a $44,000 salary.) Not a likely scenario, is it? As much as we would

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7 Steps to Landing the Perennial Raises You Deserve

Posted May 10, 2007 by

Make Your Move – Right Into Management

Are you ready to move up the corporate ladder and shoulder management responsibilities? There are a number of indicators that can tell you if you are ready for the big leap. If you are in a staff or line job and feel that you should consider a career shift and look for bigger challenges, then maybe you should seriously consider moving into a management position.
You may not get promoted quickly to your desired position – promotions are highly competitive and you need to prove yourself (often over and over) to reach the top. This is possible only through hard work, motivation, confidence and your initiative for learning new skills and accepting challenges. You need to honestly evaluate your current work performance in order to determine whether you have given it your best shot.
If you are working for a big company, you need to consider how often management-level positions open up to know whether you stand a chance.
Make A Significant Contribution To The Company
In order to get promoted to a management position, you have to ensure that you significantly contribute towards the company’s progress. Propose new ideas or strategies to your boss to enhance the efficiency of the department. This initiative will not go unnoticed – organizations need people that actively advance corporate goals and help the company achieve its mission.
You can’t just let your career stagnate – if you are serious about moving into management, identify and develop the skills required to reach a management position. Let your boss know that you are focused on moving to a management position in the company. Then make good on your word – don’t miss out on the opportunity to representing your department at a meeting in your boss’s absence. Apply for internal management job openings as and when they come up. You need to promote yourself to let people know about your achievements and any new management skills you may have recently acquired.
Develop Business, Interpersonal And Technical Skills
Moving into a management position is not easy – and you can’t be technically or business illiterate. You need to be techno savvy and must develop good business skills. In addition, if the job you are targeting requires you to manage staff you must sharpen your interpersonal skills. As a good manager, you will be responsible for handling new projects, leading and motivating the workforce, meeting deadlines, and managing projects within the specified deadlines. To be an efficient manager, you need to build diverse experience that will be instrumental in dealing with difficult situations.
Moving into management isn’t easy – and dealing with staff on a continual basis will definitely be difficult at times. But by preparing early, being proactive and developing the required skills, you will be ready when lady luck opens the door for you.


Posted February 05, 2007 by

How To Get Promoted : 9 Obvious And Often Not Practiced Tips

It would be safe to say that you would have probably entertained the question of how to get promoted even before you graduated or left school. In my chats with juniors from my industry, I am often asked this question which I gladly answer. However, I sense they simply want short cuts to the next level.


Posted January 19, 2007 by

Overcoming the Glass Ceiling for Moms

It’s an unfortunate fact that a glass ceiling exists at all for women. Throw being a mom on top of that, and you might have lowered that ceiling even more. As is true in most things in life, it’s not accurate to say this is always the case. There are exceptions, and hopefully those exceptions will soon be the norm. Until then, here are some tips for moms moving upward at work.
Dress the Part
It’s a good idea to always have one last look at yourself in the mirror before you make your entrance into the office. Maybe it’s even your car window that substitutes as a mirror for you. Moms are resourceful so figure out a way to make sure you look ready to work. Going in there with baby slobber and some breakfast crumbs on your clothes doesn’t scream, “Promote me!”
With young babies it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to keep looking fresh and professional. So make getting dressed the last thing you do before leaving the house. If that won’t work for you, slip on a button down shirt that you can wear over your clothes until you don’t have to worry about it getting dirtied up. No matter how rushed you are, though, just be sure to take the shirt off before heading into the office!
Talk Business
Yes, when you’re at work, you’re still a mom. You’re always a mom. However, you don’t want to remind people of that all day every day. You have your close friends at work that you can speak to about personal things, but keep talk like that to a minimum with other co-workers. You don’t want to be portrayed as someone who’s focus and attention is always anywhere but at the job at hand.
Take the Tough Assignments
Just because you have to pick the kids up from daycare at a certain time, doesn’t mean that you can’t tackle the big projects. See how you can manage some of the tasks at home after the kids go to bed. Try to squeeze in a little work time on the weekends. Don’t sacrifice all your family time; certainly not. However, if you can manage and/or work on projects even while you’re not at the office, your superiors will take note.
Arrange some time with your IT department to get you mobile and able to login into your work computer from home. Of course, check with your boss prior to this to ensure there is no company policy against that.
Getting ahead at work is not an easy thing to do no matter who you are. You have to work hard and prove your worth. Moms have challenges but they can be conquered. Know your constraints and how to work around them. Make the decision to promote you an easy one for the powers-to-be.