Networking is forming business connections and contacts through informal meetings. Business and professional networking serve many purposes: general marketing, sales, recruiting, jobhunting, exchange of knowledge, and business development.
A saying goes: “It is not what you know but who you know.”: The best jobs and business contracts originate from referrals. Networking will enable you to build and sustain powerful, trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs like you.
There are many events that can be used as a networking opportunities including among others: conferences, workshops, meetings, parties etc…When a profession, entrepreneur or even student attends those events it is most likely that he/she will meet likeminded people with whom they can exchange contacts and develop dependable relationships for their respective businesses or career+ growth.
Last year I attended a friend’s good bye party where I met a medical student from Germany who had just arrived in Rwanda for an internship. The student asked me to improve his basic Kinyarwanda and brief him about Kigali lifestyle, and during that event he also met a compatriot from his hometown.
In addition to the above mentioned advantages one can find potential clients for his/her products and services, if you are unemployed it is also possible to meet potential employers who are looking for your qualifications.
Kiki Mwobobia is a magazine editor from Kenya; she says that she uses Linked in, a social media website for professional and business networking.” The organization I work at sponsors events too and people from around the country plus professionals attend the talks offered. I use this platform to interact with them and acquire information that could help me in my career”adds Kiki.
Internet has made networking easy and fast it is just a click away and you meet professionals and business community from around the world. Some of the most used websites includes Linkedin.com mentioned above. It is a social media platform for professionals, graduates and business people that facilitate its users to network and join discussion groups where they discuss issues related to their careers.
AfricaAlumni.com is a global network for African professional and entrepreneurs, it publishes career resources and articles for career development, it also posts jobs advert s primarily located in Africa and has also a business directory that enables users to advertise their business to a global audience. One can also find a mentor via this website.
Linda Bach is a Newspaper Journalist from Kenya who networks through social media mostly facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.” I have gained a lot from facebook, there was this time I learnt about a workshop in Ghana on the International journalists network (IJnet) facebook page. I applied and was picked… it was a worthwhile experience because I met journalists who I network with todate”says Linda” .... I also network through KENSJa... an association of science journalists.... Through this association I have attended various workshops that are beneficial to my career.”She adds
Flavien Ngendahayo is health worker and a University Lecturer, he also networks mainly for his teaching related research and other jobs he does parallel to his teaching position, He often uses internet to network.
Yves Nsengiyumva, a young business gentleman from Musanze in Northern Province of Rwanda said in phone interview that his networking strategy is getting brokers’ contacts who help him find information he needs in his agricultural products sales business.
Business people, professionals and aspiring professionals alike should not underestimate networking because it will sooner or later advance their businesses and career.
The author is a journalistic blogger.