The Power of Networking
By Antonietta Marinelli | Oct 09, 2020
The Power of Networking
So, you are in the industry and now have stepped into the profession environment. You are now required to fill in some big shoes and create a professional and reputable standard for yourself.
First impressions are important within any life or role scenario. Going to an event there is multiple opportunities to network can be somewhat scary or intimating but it is all about the power of your approach.
We tend to shy away from ‘putting ourselves out there’ because we do not want to come across too eager, persistent, or annoying. But networking is a great way to not only expand your professional skills and connections with industry professionals, but it is also a way to learn new skills and social techniques which can be taken into your current or future role/s
Networking is like a train. You hand over your ticket, stepped onto the train, find yourself a carriage which people that appear to be of your liking, fill that time spent engaging in intellectual conversation and stimulating topics, and then finally the train comes to a stop – leading you onto your next destination (your future!).
The question is though, how do we network properly?
Set yourself a goal:
What is your goal by networking? Prior to going to a networking event, or a function where industry professionals will be present, ensure you are going in prepared and motivated with a goal. It may be that you want to speak to at least 3 new people within one department, or it could be that you want to speak about your educational/career journey with at least one individual. By having a goal in mind, you are going in to win something for yourself, and to have that feeling of achievement once the event is over.
Talk with what you know:
Your alumni network is your base for connections. Do you have LinkedIn? Great! Use it to your advantage. If you are aware of the guests that will be present at a professional event, go in strong. You are aware of the common topics and discussions which may take place. A social media platform like LinkedIn is an effective way to engage with familiar faces within your career industry, so seek out like-minded individuals prior to the event. Start a conversation – engage. When you see them in person the conversation will already be filled prior to the event, making your networking a bit more at ease.
Yes, the old cliché – “just be yourself!”. But seriously. Being yourself when meeting new people and making a great connection is fantastic. Pretending to be something you are not can backfire down the track. Ensure that you are being honest with those around you, as well as yourself. Remember to be professional, but also to be true to who you are.
Find a reason to follow up:
To maintain a rapport with people, you need a reason to connect with them again. If you had wrapped up a conversation with an industry professional, following by exchanging email addresses or LinkedIn profiles, you need something to ensure that you can re-connect with. Something as friendly as an email letting them know that it was nice to meet them or sharing a piece of work or an article which correlates to a discussion you may have had. This showcases that you are 1. Thankful for the opportunity to speak and meet with them, and 2. Maintaining a connection via mutual discussions.
Remember to always say thank-you after meeting someone! Thank them for engaging in a conversation with you, and for allowing them to give you their time. It always is a friendly gesture to offer any assistance they may need within the future and share any knowledge you feel would be handy.
References • Levinson, M. (2017, August).
How to network: 17 tips for shy people. Retrieved October 2020, from CIO: • Vest, A. (2014, July).
How To Network The Right Way: Eight Tips. Retrieved October 2020, from Forbes: