Networking and trust building are one of the most crucial building blocks of a successful consulting project. Talented’s Growth Consultants Ella Pekki and Roosa-Maria Ahonen, who worked as a team at a client project, share their thoughts about the importance of networking from a consulting business and talent acquisition point of view.
Networking starts from day one
Working as a consultant might sound intimidating and lonely at first, but what we figured out during our project – it is what you make it to yourself. We found ourselves in a situation where we had relationships built around the client company along the way, which made our day-to-day job so much smoother, and work (and free time) much more fun. The advantages of networking are not limited to individual level only, and in this article we also want to discuss the monetary value of networking, and emphasize its advantages for your consulting business.
As an external consultant, getting to know the people around the client organization and forming meaningful relationships creates, based on our experience, a sense of belonging. In the best case scenario it creates not only individual benefits – such as you feeling motivated, enjoying your work and finding it easier for you to commit to it – but also monetary advantages and a basis for a successful project.
From an individual’s viewpoint, networking helps you access information and learn new things that make your job easier and more efficient. You can hear things and stories that are not written in the onboarding materials or internal newsletters, and you start to better understand how different teams and departments outside your own team work, and what kind of things people around the client organization value.
Getting to know the people in your own team naturally has tons of benefits for the team’s work, day-to-day life, wellbeing and success, but networking should not be limited to your own team only. Getting to know people around the client organization and outside of your own department can play a big role in cooperation between teams and departments, and naturally lead to better results and trust between individuals.
How to build trust as a consultant
Networking and forming meaningful connections creates value on individual, team and organizational levels. When looking at consulting business specifically, networking also creates monetary value for you and your employer. Once you get to know people around the client organization, what areas they’re responsible for and how the decisions are made, it’s much easier for you to go to the right person with the right questions and recognize new needs the client might have. In the best case scenario, you become not only someone the client can turn to when advice and help is needed, but also someone who is able to recognize hidden needs and ways to help the client and expand your cooperation.
Accomplishing this stage of trust won’t happen overnight. Needless to say, it takes a lot of time and requires the consultant to put effort into it. So how can you build trust as an external consultant? Be active and ask how people are doing, but also talk about your interests and share your experiences. And for this to happen, you don’t need to pretend or play any kind of role.
What worked for us was being open, authentic, curious and interested in people: Who they are, what they do and what kind of things they value. You might not have a chance to work with these people in your day-to-day work, but chats on the corridor, lunch table talks and joining outside-of-work activities are easy ways to get to know new people. From a consultant’s perspective, we also found it beneficial to tell people what you are doing and make your own work as visible as possible.
For us, networking meant forming meaningful connections that made us a part of the community, boosted our wellbeing and made our job as consultants easier – and fun! In the next part, we will focus on the advantages of networking from a talent acquisition perspective.