Business Basics: Networking


By Amalya Teitelbaum, Business Editor & Manager

When one first enters the business world, they are told to network. Networking provides an outlet for those coming into the workforce to highlight their strengths, weaknesses, and skills.  

Networking is defined as an exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. The process often begins with a single point of common ground, whether that be the field of business, an interest, or an opinion. This applies to everyone from high school students to CEOs as it is a way of developing and maintaining professional or social contacts at every stage in one’s career. 

Networking should be the first thing one does when beginning a career in any field of business. According to the Harvard Business Review, networking is a necessity. Myriads of research and studies prove that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, increased knowledge, improved innovation capacity, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.

An integral piece of networking is crafting, perfecting, and memorizing one’s elevator pitch. It is called an elevator pitch because it is based on the unrealistic but possible situation that one was in an elevator with the CEO of their dream company. The individual would have approximately 30-60 seconds to sell themselves to this CEO before the elevator reaches the next floor and the CEO exits. There are a few important ideas to remember when crafting one’s elevator pitch. It is important to state a specific goal as well as who you are, and what you have been doing or accomplished. Also, be sure to incorporate what makes you unique and to conclude with an engaging closing statement with a call to action. 

When crafting one’s elevator pitch there are two things one should keep in mind: creating your brand statement and proving your brand statement. One’s brand statement is similar to a subject heading, it is a succinct sentence of who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you have to offer. It should be placed at the very beginning of your elevator pitch. The rest of your pitch should be examples and proof backing up your brand statement. It is important to remember that an elevator pitch is not a resume and is unlikely to land you a job. The point of an elevator pitch is to get you that first interview, to knock over that first domino. 

There are endless opportunities for one to network. Networking can occur at a school affair containing professionals. Networking can be approaching a speaker after an event. Networking can be speaking to guests at a table. Networking can be as simple as sending an email. 

In the business world, the three most important  Ns are network, network, and network. It is never too early to start networking. Send that email. Make that call. Go to that event. After all, there is nothing to lose from networking: there are only meaningful connections to be gained.