Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Get networking

While federal workers are wrapping up another fiscal year, September is also the time to plan ahead, both programmatically and personally.  This is a good time to get networking.

Studies show that successful executives spend between a quarter and a third of their time at work in building relationships and coalitions.  The time is viewed as critical to accomplishing their goals.

Networking is the cornerstone of project planning, career development, professional advancement, or finding a job.  After summer vacations, professional associations are putting events and luncheons on their calendars and some, like Women in Technology, are starting networking sessions. 

In a new approach to working a room, WIT is offering speed networking in which participants spend no more than two minutes talking with others to hone some networking skills. Getting involved in committees, projects and social activities outside of your immediate office can also give you visibility and help advance your career.

But today, networking does not require being an extrovert, witty or glib.  It does not even require any face-to-face contact.  With social-networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and GovLoop, you can discuss work issues, interview tips, and job openings anonymously if you want to in a virtual chat.  One active chat on GovLoop discussed what to wear to an interview.  

Still, face-to-face time continues to be important, especially in interacting and networking with colleagues informally about project and team plans.  That kind of networking can be done over coffee or lunch as well as it could be done via casual hallway meetings.  

The main idea is not to miss opportunities for casual interactions that can impart helpful information and set the stage for more formal work sessions.  In short, small talk isn’t wasting time; it can be the building block for important relationships.    

Posted on Sep 10, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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