Here’s why networking is important to professional growth

By Ashley Pace, Generation Next Treasurer
Truck Bodies & Equipment International Inc.

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue of Generation Next Edition.

Most of us seek to network with others in our industry – at least, I hear this a lot from colleagues. This is also one of Generation Next’s primary missions: “building peer relationships in the work truck industry.”  But why is this so important? Not only can networking help with your professional development and leadership skills, it can also be a lot of fun.

How can networking build your professional skills? Meeting new people can bring fresh perspectives and expand your view of the industry. Learning more about someone else and their business or day-to-day life can spark new ideas and lead you to finding fresh or better ways of working. Finally, bringing these new ideas to the table can really showcase how you are taking initiative and leading your team.

Also, networking can help advance your leadership skills by pushing you out of your comfort zone. Creating connections with industry peers can be awkward and tough, but rewarding. It is often hard to start a conversation or send a cold email, but putting yourself out there and being a consistent communicator takes courage – and is a key skill for a leader.

Finally, networking doesn’t have to be stuffy! Most industry events have time set aside for a fun activity. Next time you’re at a trade show, conference or open house, take advantage of this casual time and enjoy yourself. Most people will be more open to meeting new acquaintances in a relaxed atmosphere, and a shared game or drink can help break the ice.

This brings me to my pitch: If you’re attending Work Truck Week in March 2022, I encourage you to sign up for the Generation Next Leadership Workshop and Networking Reception. This is a great opportunity to meet other industry professionals in a more relaxed atmosphere.

If you’d like to start networking before then, the Generation Next directory or the Facebook and LinkedIn groups are great places to start. Hope to see you in March!