On a daily basis, you probably interact with colleagues, friends and even strangers. These interactions are all opportunities for networking. Here are four types of networks:
- Personal networks.
These include family, friends, and close associates. You usually choose these types of networks through mutual interests or connections. Personal networks are more social than other types of networks and are based on an exchange of help and support.
- Organisational networks.
These include project groups, committees, and councils. These networks are focused on whom you need to know to achieve objectives within a specific time frame. They are typically based on power, knowledge, and influence.
- Professional networks.
These networks are comprised of colleagues and peers. Professional networks are based on common professional interests. They can be internal or external, meaning they can exist within a place of business or outside the office as part of an industry in general.
- Strategic networks.
These include external contacts and connections. Strategic networks can be established by making alliances with individuals from social, political, civic, or religious organisations or other groups with whom you may have regular contact.
You may have already started thinking about how you can expand each of the four networks described above – new groups you could join, meetings and conferences you’d like to attend, new people you’d like to talk to, etc. Social media are also a great way to expand your network. However, it is important to remember that the people you already know could be the most influential people in your network – your third grade teacher, your mom’s best friend, your dentist, etc. may just know the person who could help you achieving your professional and personal goals.
As a basketball player, it is also very important to network with key people, both for your basketball career and for your post-basketball career. These include your National Federation, your league, your different clubs, coaches, agents, teammates, etc. During your career, having a good relationship and being polite with coaches might give you the opportunity to change your team in the future. Similarly, having a good relationship with your National Federation might give you your first post-basketball job opportunity. Keep this in mind each time that you interact with the different stakeholders.