There are many advantages to be gained from being a successful networker within the project management field, with the most obvious ones being two-fold. The first is because an extensive project management network can help you to find solutions or get new ideas to improve your chances of project success. The second is that rising along the project management employment ladder is always easier when you have well-placed contacts who can inform and advise you about possible openings.
Despite how vital it can be for your career, many project managers can be all too lax about creating and maintaining their project management network. If you feel you could do with brushing up on your skills and getting back in the community, we’ve put together some networking tips that should help to ease you in.
Provide value, don’t sell yourself
A preconception, as well as one of the major reasons people don’t like networking, is that it’s all about walking up to people and trying to tell them how great you are. Fortunately, especially in the project management world, the best way of networking is actually a lot simpler. Don’t just unload lots of reasons why you THINK someone else could need your skills, just ask them about their position or business and find out what their pain points are. From this information you can discover if there is actually some way you can provide value, such as advice based on experience or a quality recommendation.
Put yourself in situations to meet others
To network you have to connect with others. The classic way is getting face-time with someone, either in a formal or informal setting. One of the best ways of getting into both is by attending a project management conference. Not only will you get all the latest information on what’s happening in the project management world, it’s also the perfect place to meet others in the same field.
Connect through online platforms
One of the great things about the abundance of social media platforms is that they provide an opportunity to network with those in your field on a constant basis.
There are a few ways to do this, such as project management specific LinkedIn forums, such as:
- Project Manager Community – Best Group for Project Management
- PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management
- Project Management Professionals PMP
as well as many more connected with specific project management methodologies like Agile or PRINCE2. These forums can be great for networking and getting networking tips alike.
For some quick ideas, helpful links and networking tips, the short and snappy form of discourse provided by Twitter is also an excellent opportunity to connect in to a broader project management network. Use PM specific hashtags, like these, to get straight to project management conversations:
Bring positive energy
Wherever you happen to be meeting your peers, one of the best networking tips is to try and be positive. If meeting in person, wearing a smile is always an advantage while online don’t be afraid to thank people for their articles or give them positive feedback, rather than just a like. Jobs and life can be stressful enough without someone you don’t even know complaining or being negative about something, so don’t be that person!
Networking in project management not only helps your career but can also be of great benefit during individual projects too. It can be easy to get side-tracked and just concentrate on tasks and needs at hand, however for those planning a long career in project management, building a lasting is a must.