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NXT Talk: Networking 101 – Leveraging Relationship Building for Professional Advancement

July 28, 2022 · 3 min read
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Building, sustaining, and leveraging on networks/relationships are important ways to grow one’s career, business enterprise and profile. This was revealed during the second edition of NXT Talk, a monthly Twitter Spaces session hosted by SpaceNXT.

SpaceNXT is Union Bank’s fit-for-purpose co-creation hub aimed at encouraging open innovation and collaboration within the tech and innovation ecosystem, for emerging entrepreneurs, start-ups, and visionaries. It also serves as great platform for building and establishing networks mostly in the tech space.

The Twitter spaces session titled “Networking 101: Leveraging Relationship Building for Professional Advancement.” featured Babatunde Akin-Moses, Founder/CEO, fintech peer2peer lending platform Sycamore, as this month’s guest. During his insightful discussion with Efunbolanle Hughes, Digital and Innovation Analyst, Union Bank he highlighted how his relationships helped to advance his career, starting with how he landed his first role at KPMG based on recommendations and how he built a strong company by leveraging the network of people he along the way.  Speaking further, Babatunde highlighted how organic networking helped him secure various opportunities from job openings to business offers. He noted that leveraging such opportunities apart from helping him with his career growth, also provided valuable help and knowledge that helped him setup Sycamore a peer2peer digital lending platform.

Apart from leveraging existing physical relationships, he also expanded on how you can also build a solid external network like consciously trying to meet speakers at conferences or chance interactions with prominent business personalities. He emphasised the importance of being authentic, confident, and bold, plus not overwhelming them with irrelevant talks but focusing on what you do, your skill set and business interests which might provide a perfect opportunity for to exploit. Keeping conversations politically neutral is also advisable to avoid potentially scaring off future business partners because they find the views you expressed offensive. 

Babatunde also spoke about times where, trying to establish a network with people didn’t exactly go according to plan. He said he has had more failures than successes but the more you make an effort, the more success you will most likely establish a few networks over time. According to him the more informal interactions like seeing and meeting people at random places supermarkets tend to lead to more successful engagements than formal conferences or speaking engagements.

Another good area to expand your network base is building your online presence on social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter etc. Commenting further, he spoke about how he was able to grow the number of people he interacted with through constant engagement, creating content that generated conversation and also commenting or contributing to other interesting discussions on the online platforms. These followers or connections then become a sort of treasure trove for you to form potential business partnerships, market products/services and gain knowledge that would advance and propel your career. Babatunde also highlighted how important confidence and boldness is with online engagement. Not being afraid to share your opinions on subjects that you especially have a reasonable level of expertise on and being prepared to have them scrutinized and challenged. He, however cautioned on avoiding or at best knowing how to engage controversial topics.

During the discussion, Ifunaya Lilian, a listener wanted to know how to continue to engage with some individuals in her network whose interests and skill set might not be something she has knowledge about.

Responding to the question, Babatunde suggested continued engagement and patience until an opportunity opens in the future.

In conclusion Babatunde restated the 3 things in his opinion that are needed to establish a network, which are boldness, authenticity, and preparation.

Click here to listen to the full session.

Follow SpaceNXT on @spacenxt_ng on Twitter and Instagram for more episodes of NXT Talk.

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