The power of professional networking cannot be overstated. The benefits reach far and wide for all parties involved. We have narrowed down the top three benefits of professional networking in hopes that you will be encouraged to see these opportunities as more than an extension of your workday. Have you ever heard the expression “you don’t know what you don’t know”? Well, it's true. You are expected to be an expert in your line of work and contribute value to a very specific field. But through professional networking you not only have the opportunity to impart knowledge and updates in your area of expertise, but you also have the opportunity to learn. Expand your knowledge into areas that are unfamiliar or seemingly unattached from your wheelhouse. Aside from becoming more well rounded and enlightened you will begin to view your work through a new lens that leads to potential crossover you never saw prior. Newly learned information typically comes from new connections. Expanding your contact list is wonderful, but have you ever contributed to the connection between two professionals outside of your scope of work? It can be quite rewarding to facilitate and often comes back to you with positive outcomes. Remember that not all networking has to correlate with your work immediately, fostering relationships has a full circle effect and will eventually come back to you. You may also be surprised to learn new things about yourself through professional networking. In many social situations you can lean on personal information to contribute to the conversation. While this is often times appropriate in professional networking settings too, it does not always remain the core topic of conversation. In fact, you may find yourself having to brush up on current events or local happenings to stay in keeping with the conversations. This may sound intimidating, but you will likely learn more about yourself, your interests, your stance and opinions on topics you never gave much thought to in the past. All in all, professional networking is more than an obligation to your work portfolio. It is a chance to learn what you don’t know, engage in intentional relationship building, and discover more about yourself as a professional and individual.