Jeannette is the CEO of Lurdez Consulting Group. She brings over 20 years of project management success to her work helping companies.
The world of project management is a vast one. This profession entails not only preparing and educating yourself on technical skills but also learning soft skills that can contribute to the success of a project and help you deliver bottom-line results.
A lot has been said about networking, and I believe that is mostly because it is an essential part of every person’s life. Just think about it for a second: The world we live in is run by relationships. From my perspective, we would not be able to do anything if it weren’t for the bonds we have built throughout our lives. And networking is all about that; it is basically the process of interacting with others to share and exchange ideas and information, as well as develop professional or social contacts who can contribute to your growth and talent.
Since project managers must have exceptional communication skills, networking is closely related to their craft. During projects, we have to constantly interact with different people; the list can go from the project team to the stakeholders, executives and so on. This might sound a bit overwhelming, but experience has taught me everything is easier when you have a good network of professionals who give you support whenever you need it. Moreover, the networking process is so enriching, it can help you learn skills and valuable tools that you will be able to put into practice in your daily tasks.
Benefits Of Networking
Building networks with professionals from your field can bring you many advantages. The completion of a project depends on the correct development of different stages, and it is very likely that you, as a project manager, might encounter difficulties or bottlenecks along this process.
In order to be prepared, it is always wise to count on not only your expertise but also on the experience of other project managers who can help you overcome those obstacles. Your contacts might know how to properly answer your questions, and they can provide you with some fresh ideas and valuable information that you may use throughout the project. In my experience, this can save you a lot of time and money, and all this will contribute to your growth as a professional. Plus, since this is a network, you will also be sharing your added value as a professional and will help others get through their projects as well.
Tips For Building Your Network
As a project manager, you will have plenty of opportunities to build your network. However, getting to do that is kind of a fine art. The most common ways of networking are face-to-face or using social networks. In my opinion, it is always good to combine both methods so you can have better results. “But how?” you might be wondering.
Attending a project management conference could be a great initiative. These can help you stay up-to-date with what is happening in the project management world, as you often hear the latest news, methods and innovations of the field. Furthermore, you can meet a lot of project managers who might be willing to network with you. Even if you’re an introvert, put a big smile on your face and ask other attendees who they are, what their interests are and why they are at the conference. Do not worry about showing off or talking about yourself. Rather, show that you are interested in getting to know them.
Another way to expand your network is by using social media. For instance, LinkedIn has specific forums for project managers where you can connect with other professionals immediately. There are also forums related to specific project management methodologies in which project managers share their curiosities and discoveries.
All in all, to me, networking as a project manager is more than just building a brand or name; it is about creating a platform where everyone can share their knowledge and interests. It is a way of helping one another thrive in our profession and an opportunity to learn from other experiences. That is why it is essential to cultivate and maintain those relationships so they can endure in time.