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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 March 29, 2016 by

How to brand yourself on social media

There’s a whole lot of buzz right now about how important it is to brand yourself on social media. Should you create a separate personal and professional brand? Should you invite employers to connect with you on social media, or keep all social media accounts strictly private, adding only friends and family to connect with you? Should you boycott social media altogether?

Whoa there, Tiger. Before you go rogue on us and refuse to interact with the world from this day forward, let’s take a step back and consider a balanced approach to branding.

Today’s Tuesday Tip offers tips on how to brand yourself on social media.


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

1) Be consistent.

Consistency is king in relationship building. Why? Most people—healthy people—enjoy knowing what to expect from others; that makes them feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. If people can typically expect you to behave in the same manner, with few exceptions, and your behavior is polite, courteous, and kind, people will enjoy being around you. They will most likely want to be around you in the future and accept your requests for appointments, phone calls, and other interactions. It’s important to brand yourself as someone who is consistent.

On the other hand, if you behave in an inconsistent manner—even on social media—and your comments run the gamut from thoughtful and kind to harsh and critical, your contacts/friends online may begin to shy away from interacting with you. Even if you have much to offer by way of expertise, you might find that your acquaintances are less likely to respond to your comments and invitations if you don’t behave in a consistent manner.

Remember the analogy used in the video embedded in this article of Madonna and Britney Spears. Madonna maintained a consistent marketing message or brand out of the gate. Her fans (and haters) knew what to expect from her from day one. This was never true of Britney Spears (or Miley Cyrus, for that matter). Deep down, most people really like knowing what to expect of others, particularly those we have relationships with.

2)  Be kind.

Golden rule, people. Simply treat others as you want to be treated, or as my career mentor Samantha Hartley says, and as I mentioned in a recent Tuesday Tip video, “as offline, so online.” Treat others well face-to-face (with kindness, courtesy, politeness, encouragement, positivity, humor, etc.). Interactions on social media should be no different, right? When you brand yourself on social media, ensure that you leave people with a positive feeling after they interact with you.

3) Be strategic.

Be strategic when you brand yourself. Put some thought into choosing what you post because it matters; it can affect your employment opportunities.

Who are you on your best day? Are you reliable, caring, outgoing, considerate, and on time? This is the best you to portray on social media. This is how to brand yourself on social media.

If you have difficulty figuring out who you are in terms of your career path and how to brand yourself, you’re not alone. Branding yourself is a lifelong process; you simply get started while you’re in college, and you continue working on it throughout your career. If you need help determining how to word your headline on LinkedIn, sections of your resume, or even where you’re heading in terms of your career path, visit with your career services specialists on campus. Take free career assessments on campus. It’s never too late!

For more tips on using social media in your job search, follow our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.