Networking and collaboration is vital in business, entrepreneurship, academic, innovation and social life. In computing world, the word network means a collection of computers that are linked together to share or exchange files, data or other important resources. This gives the authorized users the ability to access information stored in another computer.
Networking for human is the relationship or connection that exists between individuals within and or outside an organization, community and country with the aim of achieving a certain goal.
Collaboration, on the other hand, is when individuals come together to get the immediate work or project done efficiently. When people network, they are able to share ideas and exchange thoughts. Some people may think that networking or collaboration comes only when financial aid is needed or when two parties need to do business only, but that’s not the case. There are a number of reasons why we need to network with people.
Why we need collaboration and networking?
The main goal of networking and collaboration is for career and professional development. This point is well broken down in the following sub points;
- Opening up opportunities.
It becomes easier for people who network to find a job since they are able to expose themselves to employers or employees. In this world where jobs are scarce, it’s not easy to find job opportunities when you are not well connected. Networking helps the process (of finding a job) to become easier. In addition to that, you are able to showcase your skills to the people you network with which becomes a plus for you when there is an opening within their working places. This equally applies to students when there are openings for scholarships, academic opportunities and internships.
- Facilitates international or local trade/businesses
For your business to succeed, you need customers or markets, partners, middlemen and connections. Connections, as referred to here, are those people who are able to find for you markets or customers for your products (goods and services). That means you still more need to network with other people locally and internationally. International connections are important for your business(es) because you cannot determine prices and the way markets flow in other countries so the connections offer guidance on such pertinent market issues.
- Expanding knowledge
The more you connect with different people, the more the knowledge you gain. When you network with others, you share ideas through which you gain knowledge and expand your territories. The way countries or people are advancing in technology or developing differs, so networking is the way to go for you to learn from them. You can learn such issues as what policies they are using to advance in the area(s) you or your country is failing. Furthermore, you learn about other people’s culture which is relevant in prolonging a fruitful connection.
- Easing work
Many hands make light work – Haya (Tanzanian/African Proverb). We need friends or ideas from others to make work lighter. As a student, you might need others to help you on research by editing your concept note, proposal, and report. Friends are equally needed in data collection and in many other areas of learning. In other words, we live in a structural society where each person in relevant to the existence of the other. This is why organizations seek consultants to help them write proposals if they seek funding.
Whom to network or collaborate with?
You can network with different successful individuals in different sectors. For example, you can network with farmers, medical practitioners, academicians, economists, statisticians, entrepreneurs, students etc. for you to be equipped with knowledge from such different areas.
As an individual, you might have area of specialization that you have studied or where your passion is, it is important to collaborate with individuals who have succeeded within your area of specialization but this does not give you a guarantee to forgo those whom their area (of specialization) are not under your zone. There is a misconception in the area of connection where people believe that connections ought to be made with people with higher positions alone. This is totally wrong because every person, both in higher or lower positions can help you in enormous ways. Success comes with putting different resources together, that is, knowledge, labour, funds or capital just to mention a few. If you properly understand the principle of connection, you will see that you still need those who do not have money to aid you with knowledge or labour.
With social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Telegram, WhatsApp), connecting with others, more especially international friends, has become easier. Make necessary connections!
If you have not yet started networking or collaborating with others, this is the good time for you to find more connections. You will realize that there are many others benefits in networking to the ones stated in this article.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony Katanda Kamanga is a student at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), studying BSc in Agricultural Economics, in 3 rd year. He is 24 years old, born at Chipoka, Salima District in Malawi although he residing in the city of Lilongwe currently.
Besides schooling, he is also working as Programs Intern at AABC Management Consultant, and Volunteer at Buthu Walero. He has also worked as a Temporary Data Entry Clerk at Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) and Global Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO).
He believe that Investing in youth is the one the achievement a government can be proud of, but the youth should work in collaboration and network with others to learn more and achieve their goals. Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn.