O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Building your people network

Creating connections for professional success

Topic: System Administration
Jennifer Stine

How well you build relationships in your company and industry—that is, networking with people—is a key skill that directly impacts your effectiveness in your organization at all levels in your career. A strong network will help you and your group move its agenda forward and will provide you with opportunities for professional growth. But networks don’t happen overnight: they take time to develop.

In this practical, interactive course, Jennifer Stine explains why networks are important. You'll learn what strong, effective business networks look like and understand the common barriers to developing them. You'll then map your own network—in both a current and a desired state—and discover strategies that will help you both build and maintain a strong network. The best time to develop your network is before you really need it. Join in to get started today.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • Why networking is important
  • Common barriers to networking and how to overcome them
  • What strong networks look like and how to build them
  • What your current network looks like and how it can be enhanced

And you’ll be able to:

  • Overcome mindsets that are keeping you from building strong networks
  • Feel more confident networking
  • Think strategically about your own network and take action to develop it

This training course is for you because...

  • You're looking to progress your skills and career and would like to see more opportunities.
  • You've faced challenges in influencing your group or business or getting acceptance for new ideas, products, or initiatives.
  • You're a manager or leader looking to improve your leadership effectiveness and organizational savvy.


Recommended preparation:

About your instructor

  • Jennifer (Jenny) Stine has been teaching organizational behavior, teamwork, and leadership for close to a decade. Her teaching experience includes a master’s level organizational behavior course at Harvard Extension and short professional development courses in leadership and teamwork at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education. Jenny has also practiced these skills in senior-level leadership roles, including at MIT, where she was the founding director of the Professional Education Office; at Harvard, where she led executive education for the Graduate School of Education; and as a learning and development consultant for industry, including ongoing work at Accenture. She holds a PhD from Stanford.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Why networking matters (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: The importance of networking from an organizational perspective—both staying in the know and influencing others; the importance of networking from a career perspective
  • Hands-on exercise: Reflect on two to four things you like least about networking
  • Group discussion: What holds you back?

Barriers to networking (10 minutes)

  • Lecture: Preconceptions or mindsets that prevent you from networking; how to build new habits; why adopting a “growth mindset” can help
  • Quick quiz and Q&A

The company behind the chart (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: What social network mapping is; comparing a formal organizational structure to a social network map; a company example of how a project team challenge was solved by looking at the advice and trust relationships on the team

The three types of networks you need (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The three types of networks you need—a personal network that supports your career growth, a strategic network that helps you understand where your business and industry are going, and an operational network
  • Hands-on exercise: Create a quick map of your network using the three network types and reflect on some debrief questions
  • Group discussion: How could you improve your network?
  • Quick quiz and Q&A

Break (5 minutes)

What an effective network looks like (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: What should your network look like?; the importance of understanding the organizational context, your current work, and who should be included; network clusters and network brokers
  • Hands-on exercise: Discover how you're interdependent by considering whose cooperation you need, whose compliance you need, whose opposition might keep you from accomplishing your work, and who needs your cooperation and compliance
  • Quick quiz and Q&A

Building your network (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: Advice on reaching out to others, getting more comfortable, identifying common interests, and thinking broadly about what you have to offer

Maintaining your network (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: How to be an “energizer” in your network; when you should and shouldn't connect others; what to do to stay in touch; what to do if you have fallen out of touch Quick quiz

Wrap-up and Q&A (5 minutes)