Essay: Relationship Building/Networking Skill

Self-Assessment

Relationship building or networking is crucial to professional success for any individual or business now a days. It is very effective low cost marketing method for expanding business development opportunities and creating contacts within the business network. Relationship building through introductions and referrals is a common as well as important component of many businesses now a days. Networking or relationship building within the related business and consumer communities is done either face-to-face through meetings and gatherings, or other through other communication sources like phone, email, social media, and business networking websites.

Relationship building or networking requires effective communication and presentation skills. Communication may be written or oral. It may also be graphical to attract others and impact them to create contacts with you. If I have a good business idea but I don’t have the skills to communicate or present my idea in a way which can attract the investors or other stakeholders, this idea would be of no benefit for me. Therefore, I must know how to pitch my idea.

During the course of my degree, I learnt how to prepare an effective elevator pitch, how to rehearse this elevator pitch and how to tailor it to specific audience in order to catch their attention. Relationship building with investors, CEOs, business owners requires me to sum up the unique aspects of my idea, service or product in a way to excite the listener and it should be short enough to last during an elevator ride (Pincus, 2007).

Moreover, relationship building through emails, websites and social media not only requires the use of email, web, and social media tools, but also business and technical writing skills. I developed my technical and research writing skills as part of completing different courses in my degree. However, for digital media marketing, social networking, and websites, I still require to take some more courses at George Mason University. Those skills will help me develop and expand my social network and I will be able to access people over this modern media to build relationships. Trusov, Bucklin, and Pauwels (2009) found that word of mouth has longer and stronger effects on consumer and business relationships than traditional marketing activities and events. Therefore, I feel that social media networking must be my focus during the coming years.

While working in different semester projects individually as well as part of groups, I felt that I am good in communicating ideas to others, building relationships with others, creating a good word of mouth about myself and my ideas, and impacting others’ views about things. During the courses of my studies, I came to know that these skills can help me to be a good marketing and relationship building professional, which is important for developing business. That is the reason that I want to make a career in this field and hence will be planning to learn more in this area.

Needs Assessment

Building and maintaining good relationships at work not only help you to get more engaged in your work, but also has positively effects work performance. Better performance leads to good raises, career advancement and selection for working in key projects. Since human beings are social creatures, they need good relationships everywhere, just as they need food and water. The Mind Tools. (n.d.) cited Gallop Organization’s finding that a person having the best friends at work are 7 times more engaged in their job. More engagement is related to more productivity. Gallop further explained that it is not necessary to have the best friend at work, but a good friend will also help in improving engagement at work. Having good relationships at work improves the satisfaction level of the workers and hence productivity.

Relationship building or networking is a valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the others’ success, gain more clients, and inform others about your business or skills. Baird (n.d.) listed nine major benefits of building relationships to be generating referrals, more business opportunities, connection with others, finding good advices when they are most needed, raising your profile by being visible and being noticed by others, gain positive influence of others, increased confidence, satisfaction in work and helping others, and having good friends around.

Relationship building whether that is face-to-face or through social networking and media marketing has its role in business development and success. Collins and Clark (2003) analyzed 73 high technology firms for the internal and external social networks of top management and its impact on business performance and concluded that stock and sales growth were mainly supported and facilitated by the social networks of top managers. Hence, I can learn and use internal and external social networking skills to enhance business growth in terms of stock and sales. According to Krackhardt (1992) strong business relationships always help in development of trust and getting mutual benefits. While according to Hansen (1999) such strong ties help businesses to interchange or transfer sensitive and critical information which is difficult to exchange over weaker links.

Thus creating strong internal and external social networks will help me collect critical business information from close ties in order to take business critical decisions with more reliability and confidence. Similarly internal ties will help receive information about issues and opportunities within my organization which wouldn’t be easy without having strong relationships within my organization.

Gaining Experience and Knowledge of Building Relationships

Through my courses at George Mason, I have learnt a lot about how to socialize and get connected to people to grow my social networks. Similarly, I have improved my skills in written communication through writing tasks like developing business proposals, writing professional letters, developing elevator pitches and other communication tasks. However, to be more effective in social networking, website presence, and email marketing strategies to improve and grow my relationships internally and externally, I still need a lot of hard work. For this purpose, I have identified two professional certificate programs. After the completion of degree, I plan to start with Social Media Professional Certificate (SMP 0100) at George Mason University. This professional certificate will help me gain in depth knowledge of using social media to identify my targeted audience, identifying and building my groups, leading and supporting my community, managing my reputation, and creating my social media project plans. For better experiences, this certificate course includes case study based learning activities which will help me build my experiences around this skills. For further mastery in these skill, I then plan to join another certificate course Social Media Strategist Certificate Program (0200) at George Mason. This certificate course will not only help in developing effective social media relationship building strategies, but will also help me learn organizational development, measurement and analytics of my networks and hence business relationships. I am ready to join some well-reputed organization as internee to work on challenging tasks related to these skills. Although the courses are expensive and would need me to arrange finances, but I hope to work part time, preferably in a related position, to make it possible as well to keep in practicing the skills that I will learn during the courses.

References

Baird, K. (n.d.). Top 9 benefits of business networking. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://amazingbusiness.com/top-9-benefits-of-business-networking/

Collins, C. J., & Clark, K. D. (2003). Strategic human resource practices, top management team social networks, and firm performance: The role of human resource practices in creating organizational competitive advantage. Academy of management Journal, 46(6), 740-751.

Hansen, M. 1999. The search-transfer problem: The role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organizational subunits. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44: 82–111.

Krackhardt, D. 1992. The strength of strong ties: The importance of philos in organizations. In N. Nohria & R. Eccles (Eds.), Networks and organizations: Structure, form, and action: 216–239. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pincus, A. (2007). The perfect (elevator) pitch. Bloomsberg Businessweek.

Trusov, M., Bucklin, R. E., & Pauwels, K. (2009). Effects of word-of-mouth versus traditional marketing: findings from an internet social networking site. Journal of marketing, 73(5), 90-102.

The Mind Tools. (n.d.). Building good work relationships. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/good-relationships.htm