How and where to network like a pro
Looking to establish meaningful, relevant connections and build your business network? Not everyone loves golf! For ideas on sources of great networking opportunities beyond the golf course – plus tips on how to work the room – please read more…
Where can you find great networking opportunities?
– Industry events and conferences.
– Professional associations, many of which run events specifically for networking purposes. The professional courses they run can also offer valuable networking opportunities.
– LinkedIn. You can join groups, attend events and participate in conversations that will connect you with relevant business contacts. Nurture those relationships by sharing useful, helpful content and posts regularly. Check out other online business platforms for other opportunities too.
– Business networking groups, e.g. local and national Chambers of Commerce.
– Alumni groups for your school and university.
How can you most effectively work the room?
Once you’ve selected the networking avenues you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to work the room. LinkedIn is a special case and we’ll be examining how to network on it in a dedicated article soon. But, in the meantime, the CIPD has a lot of great advice on how to network in person, which we summarise for you below:
– If you’re attending an event, scan the delegate list to see who you’d most like to meet. Research them on LinkedIn so that you can recognise them and have a few topics of conversation at the ready. Consider reaching out to them in advance just to say hello and that you hope to have the opportunity of meeting them at the event.
– Be brave! If you don’t know anyone when you arrive at a networking event, you can either walk up to someone else who’s on their own and introduce yourself or approach a group of people and ask if it’s okay for you to join them. Either way, remember that your target is there to network too so they’ll be pleased to meet you.
– Show your interest in the other person. It’s not all about you and your business agenda! Ask them about themselves (without being too intrusive) and give their responses your full attention. The power of general chit-chat to establish relationships is enormous!
– End the conversation graciously. When it’s time to move on, say that you’ve enjoyed meeting the person but that now you’re going to go and meet a few other people. It’s not rude if done warmly and respectfully. Alternatively, pointing to your empty glass and making a beeline for the bar is the classic, go-to strategy for exiting a conversation politely.
– Follow up with a ‘nice to meet you’ note. Whether you’ve exchanged business cards or subsequently looked the person up on LinkedIn, follow up with a note referencing your conversation via LinkedIn or email. If appropriate, invite the person out for a coffee. Otherwise, try to nurture the relationship by checking in with them virtually from time to time.
However and wherever you choose to focus your networking efforts, ABL Recruitment – your trusted, expert recruitment partner – wishes you all the best. For any recruitment-based advice, or to connect with fantastic, best-fit job opportunities, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7092 3911. Our expert recruitment consultants are looking forward to helping you land your next dream job!