It’s widely understood in business that networking is a vital part of making progress. Entire weekends are dedicated to meeting people in the same field as each other who can influence and learn from each other. The success of the digital age has proven that strong interpersonal connections make a world of difference, but here are some unexpected ways your network could benefit you even more.

The Power of Networking

One: Business

The most obvious way that your networking benefits your life is the business knowledge and insider tips you gain from getting in touch with influential people. Setting out to deliberately interact with people within the proper circles will greatly increase your chances of success. Find events and talks to attend where likeminded people in your field will meet and share ideas. This is the main goal of networking – to absorb the knowledge of others and perhaps even gather contacts for future endeavors. These kinds of events are also great ways of finding friends and maybe even business partners as the people you meet are likely interested in similar things as you. Of course, there are more methods of expanding your network than simply attending events, just as there are more ways your network can help you in other areas of your life.

Two: Support

The stereotype of the business world is cold, ruthless, and unfeeling towards others. Just because someone is business-minded doesn’t mean that they are unsympathetic to your personal life and the inevitable complications that come with it. There’s a difference between remaining professional during a meeting or a pitch and breaking down in the office, but people are still people once a business is over. Creating a reliable network means you have access to the skills, knowledge and even compassion of people you might not have known otherwise. Perhaps you’ve disclosed to a contact that you’re having health issues. They might be able to provide you with the number of a medical professional who is perfectly suited to helping you – for example, pointing you towards Rishin Patel’s details, because they know him personally or have networked with him in the past. You never know who your network could put you in touch with, during working hours or not. Despite what you might think from how the business world is portrayed in movies, people are not merely tools to push you further along in your career. Making real, human connections is just as important.

Three: Dodging Bullets

It is often said that failure is the best teacher and that to succeed you must learn from your mistakes. However, networking and getting to know the practices of others in your field can help you learn from the mistakes of other people, too. Listen to stories from your contacts and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Weigh up whether the source of this advice is reliable and qualified – it’s unlikely that a young entrepreneur will know more about the field than a business owner who has spent years building their company. If you often find yourself spending time with the same groups of people, listen out for hints as to who is difficult to work with and who is likely to steal ideas. Without networking, you could easily fall into any number of these traps. Be thankful for your contacts and make friends.