In-house Interpersonal: Networking Niceness

Networking is Give-Give-Giving

by Ilise Benun

Last week, Jackie Schaffer, Vice President and General Manager of Cella, and upcoming speaker at The inHOWse Conference, talked about why in-house designers, now more than ever, need to take responsibility for their own career paths. She even said, “Creative team members need to recognize that sometimes the best career opportunities are outside of their current company, not always within in it.”



You know what that means….networking, and I mean the personal kind!

So here are a few networking tips to try out, both within your company as well as outside, because things are changing to fast these days that you really, truly never know who will land where and what they will need. That’s why it’s so important to always be networking — but not in a slimy, take-take-take type of way. Instead, try the give-give-give type of networking. It will feel much more natural.

  • Ask Important Questions. Find out what the other person knows – ask open-ended questions to get them talking about themselves. Ask questions about things more significant than “the weather” or other topics of idle chitchat conversation. Ask what’s important to them, what their long and short-term goals are. What is hindering them from meeting those goals? What can you give to help them meet those goals?
  • Become a “Hub.” To be a great networker, you need to know a lot of people. It helps you pass along other people who can help others. “Be the hub”. Be always expanding your network. The more people you know, the more resourceful you can be and the better you can be of service to others in your network.
  • Make an unsolicited referral. Are you working with someone who’s done an excellent job – a freelancer, a banker, a yoga teacher, a hairdresser? You’ve probably thought more than once about passing his or her name along to a few people in your network. But have you taken the time to actually do it? It means going out of your way but it pays off big time down the road.

Have you tried these techniques? Have they worked? Do you have any to add?

(These tips are excerpted from It’s Who You Know: The Ultimate Networking Kit, by Ilise Benun. Details here (

And you can get plenty of networking practice at this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference too.

One thought on “In-house Interpersonal: Networking Niceness

  1. Kidd Radar

    “Creative team members need to recognize that sometimes the best career opportunities are outside of their current company, not always within in it.”

    I couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve been at my current company for almost 7 years. In that time I’ve moved from being a Marketing Assistant/Graphic Designer to my current role of Senior Graphic Designer.

    I had my yearly review yesterday which went well, but have now come to a conclusion that if I want any further advancement I need to leave my current company. I feel like I am in a rut and discussed it with my manager but, there doesn’t seem to be any way o fix it. There are just no more opportunities here.

    The article was very helpful.