Posted on 20th February 2019 by Katrina Docherty
Whether any of us like to do it or not, networking is a gold nugget that leads to forming strong personal and professional bonds and can lead to unforeseen success. Having simple conversations can ignite opportunities for job growth or personal growth that you may not have had otherwise, so we’re going to talk about how to network, why you network and tips to network effectively.
Having a good personal network can bring things like career advancement, better exposure for yourself, and new or more close-knit relationships. Since it only takes a moment to start a conversation, you have dozens of potential opportunities every single day.
Roughly 70 to 80% of people credit networking with helping them advance in some area in their life- if you’re not doing it, don’t drown in FOMO- it’s time to get on board! Capitalise on the chances you get to network in everyday life simply by engaging with the people around you, (and herein lies the secret), you don’t have to be at a networking event to network. You can network every day with your coworkers, family and friends. Even if you only have a few minutes around the water cooler or a quick coffee break, this is where you start. The key to successful networking is paying attention to the person you’re starting a conversation with and actively listening to them, and then having the courage to talk about your side projects, passions and where you want to grow. It’s about give and take – it takes practice, but it’s essential.
Begin small by asking an open question with a bit of context, such as, “I’m thinking about planning a holiday soon- have you been anywhere interesting recently, or have anywhere planned?” and then see where it takes you. Taking a few minutes to talk about engaging topics that help to build rapport will make you memorable, and it opens the pathway for deeper conversations to take place either in that moment or the next time you meet.
It’s important not to force the conversation to be about career development or side projects, but to let the conversation flow naturally to the topic if it’s relevant or if you feel the other person would be open to hearing about it – this will help you come off as genuine and interested in your audience. You also want to practice not selling, but simply talking about yourself or your passions in a casual way. At this stage, you’re sharing instead of selling. It’s great to ask whomever you’re talking to about themselves and their projects, and of course, be engaged and interested in their answers.
The Three Top Tips for Networking Success
Whether you plan to network at a coffee shop, at a chance meeting when you’re out and about or when you meet friends of your friends, it’s important to have a few ground tips on-hand. While it’s true that hardly anyone likes to network or networks because they want to, you can make the most out of every opportunity.
- Talk to People You Don’t Know First – Do you have a coworker that you pass in the hall but you don’t know well? Chance are, you do. The next time you see them, stop and start a conversation with them. Ask them to grab a coffee with you if your breaks line up, and get to know them.
- Focus on Listening – The whole point of networking is to sell yourself, right? This may be true, but it’s a better strategy to focus on listening instead of selling. This is especially true if it’s the first time you’re talking to a person. Listening and contributing can help you build a solid foundation for a business relationship.
- Don’t Forget Body Language – You can have a whole conversation without saying a word through your body language. One study showed that a person’s feelings and how strongly they connected with a speaker were 55% dependent on the speaker’s body language. Knowing this, make sure that you maintain eye contact, smile, keep an open stance and offer a firm handshake if there is one.
Contact MAYDAY for More Information!
Our team at MAYDAY know the value of networking and often hold events for clients and candidates in order to foster great relationship-building opportunities. If you’d like to hear more about our events in order to grow your personal network, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAYDAY Recruitment is a total business support recruitment service across temporary, contract and permanent roles, and we operate across industries such as Insurance, Banking and Finance, and FMCG – if you’d like advice on your job search or career path, please get in contact with one of our dedicated team members at 02 8377 5600 or email@example.com