03 May 2023 | Kate Ballantyne
Networking is a valuable tool for professionals in any industry, as it can provide access to new opportunities, open doors and enable relationships to be built and maintained. After the pandemic years, with online meetings becoming the new norm, face-to-face networking may seem scary. However, meeting new people and forming genuine connections and professional relationships remains a crucial element of business. This blog will discuss some of the ways to make the most of networking events and make them seem like a less daunting prospect.
Why do we network?
Often people have different intentions when they go to events. Networking can be about building brand awareness, educating ourselves, and generating leads through new connections. It is useful when going to an event to have an idea of what you are trying to achieve, and setting goals about who you may want to speak to, or how many new connections you want to make.
Networking can seem like an awkward activity; when people try to promote themselves, the conversation can seem forced and can quickly dry up. It is important to treat networking like any other type of conversation and be yourself, be considerate and be interested in what the other person has to say. Finding common ground with someone is a much better way of building a relationship than talking only about what you do. At networking events where you meet a lot of people, it may be useful to write a quick note of who you spoke to, what they did and what you spoke about. This can make following up with them more natural.
It is important to follow up the same day that you made a connection, and it helps to remind the person about what you talked about. Networks have to be maintained; following up once may not achieve this. It is important to continue to reach out to connections who are open to it and sustain the relationship in order to maximise the benefit of it.
Networking isn’t just about making new connections; it’s about gaining access to the networks of your new connections. Forging relationships with people that will then connect you to others is a deeper benefit of networking. When you realise this and put these tips into action, you can become a master networker.