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

Developing one's professional career, commercial enterprise, and public profile are all important aspects of cultivating, maintaining, and capitalizing on one's networks and relationships. This was revealed during the second edition of NXT Talk, a monthly Twitter Spaces session hosted by SpaceNXT.

Union Bank has established SpaceNXT as a purpose-built co-creation hub with the intention of fostering open innovation and collaboration within the ecosystem of technology and innovation on behalf of aspiring business owners, start-up companies, and visionaries. Additionally, it is an excellent platform for constructing and establishing networks, particularly in the technological sphere.

This month's guest for the Twitter spaces session entitled "Networking 101: Leveraging Relationship Building for Professional Advancement" was Babatunde Akin-Moses, Founder and CEO of the fintech peer-to-peer lending platform Sycamore. During his insightful conversation with Efunbolanle Hughes, Digital and Innovation Analyst at Union Bank, he highlighted how his relationships helped to advance his career. He began by explaining how he landed his first role at KPMG based on recommendations, and then he went on to describe how he built a successful company by leveraging the network of people he met along the way. In his subsequent remarks, Babatunde elaborated on how organic networking had assisted him in securing a variety of opportunities, ranging from business offers to job openings. He made the observation that seizing such opportunities, in addition to assisting him with the development of his career, also provided invaluable assistance and knowledge that assisted him in establishing Sycamore, a peer-to-peer digital lending platform.

He expanded on how you can also build a solid external network by doing things like consciously trying to meet speakers at conferences or having chance interactions with prominent business personalities. In addition to leveraging existing physical relationships, he also discussed how you can leverage existing online relationships. He emphasized the significance of being genuine, self-assured, and fearless, as well as the necessity of avoiding overwhelming them with irrelevant talks and instead concentrating on what you do, your skill set, and any business interests you have that might present an ideal opportunity for you to exploit. Maintaining a political neutrality in one's conversations is also recommended in order to reduce the risk of discouraging potential future business partners who might find the views you have expressed to be offensive.

Babatunde also discussed the instances in which he tried to establish a network with various individuals but things did not go exactly according to plan. He stated that he has experienced more failures than successes, but that the more effort you put in, the more success you will have, and the more likely it is that you will establish a few networks over the course of time. According to him, less formal interactions such as seeing and meeting people in random places like supermarkets tend to lead to more successful engagements than more formal engagements such as speaking engagements or conferences.

Developing your online presence on social media platforms like Linkedin and Twitter, among others, is another productive way to broaden the scope of your existing network. In his further commentary, he discussed how he was able to increase the number of people with whom he interacted by maintaining constant engagement, producing content that generated conversation, and also commenting on or contributing to other interesting discussions taking place on online platforms. After that, these followers or connections become a sort of treasure trove for you to form potential business partnerships, market products or services, and acquire knowledge that would advance and propel your career. In addition, Babatunde stressed the significance of having self-assurance and being bold when participating in online activities. being willing to share your opinions on topics in which you particularly have a reasonable level of expertise, as well as being prepared to have those opinions scrutinized and challenged, without feeling any fear about doing so. However, he advised avoiding or, at the very least, being knowledgeable about how to approach contentious subjects.

During the course of the conversation, one of the audience members, Ifunaya Lilian, expressed interest in learning how she could maintain engagement with some members of her network whose interests and skill sets may not be something about which she is knowledgeable.

In response to the inquiry, Babatunde offered the following advice: "continue to engage in the process, and be patient until an opportunity presents itself in the future."

In conclusion, Babatunde reiterated the three characteristics that, in his opinion, are required in order to establish a network. These characteristics are audacity, authenticity, and preparation.

Simply click on this link to hear the entire presentation.

For additional episodes of NXT Talk, be sure to follow SpaceNXT on Twitter and Instagram under the handle @spacenxt ng.