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What is networking?

By Payel Bera

Reviewed by Jekaterina Drozdovica

Fact checked by Rachel Roberts


Networking is defined as the exchange of information or ideas in a social setting among people who are engaged in a common profession or industry. Networking always begins with a shared interest point. 

Key takeaways:

  • Networking is the process of establishing and maintaining relationships with individuals and groups to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities.

  • Effective networking involves developing a genuine interest in people and their interests, building trust and rapport, and adding value to the relationship.

  • Networking can take place in a variety of settings, including social events, industry conferences, and online platforms.

  • The benefits of networking include increased access to job opportunities, professional development, and potential business partnerships.

How does networking work?

Let’s begin the explanation of networking with an example. You are a wildlife photographer and have travelled to several exotic locations. Recently, you have been looking for a client who would be interested in sponsoring your next photoshoot, so you use networking to reach out to acquaintances and find out about job opportunities in the field.

A common way of how networking works can be seen among school or college alumni. Several educational organisations have alumni platforms set up where former students can connect to find effective networking opportunities. 

Business networking

Another networking example is when entrepreneurs join the local chamber of commerce to promote their business interests, brainstorm ideas, share knowledge and find collaborations.

Small business professionals or entrepreneurs often depend on networking to build their businesses in the community. Networking and constant communication with local people help them build trust and strengthen relationships. 

Additionally, networking can help business people or entrepreneurs identify opportunities for strategic joint ventures, partnerships, and scouting out new areas to expand their business. 

Similarly, a church, a synagogue social group, a private club or even a hiking group can be a good place for networking. Countries or institutions often organise trade shows, seminars  and conferences for networking, as it attracts a large crowd of like-minded individuals. 

Online networking

During the Covid-19 pandemic professionals relied on online networking to enhance business, find jobs and connect with others who have similar interests as meeting in person became impossible during nationwide lockdowns. 

We are now in an era where online networking has become a part of our lifestyle. Professional or social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become a go-to option for everyone, be it students, entrepreneurs, or professionals. 

Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn help people to engage with others, join various groups, post blogs, and share information and experiences. Users can also upload resumes that are visible to prospective employers.  

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