Another networking event? We understand not all networking events are exciting and fun to go to. And let’s be honest, Networking Events are not really known for being people’s favourite activity. However, networking can be valuable and has a lot of benefits to it. And if you are lucky, you might attend a Networking Event that is fun too. Have a look at our networking tips and read more about the benefits of networking below.
What is Networking?
Let’s start from scratch. When Networking, you are meeting and connecting with (new) people within the industry. Networking is about building relationships and exchanging information. This usually happens in a social setting.
Whether you are introverted or an extrovert, networking is for everyone and each person has their own style to connect and interact. For example, if you are introverted you might want to attend a smaller and more personal event. While extroverts could go for a bigger event with more people.
Networking is something that can take place within the organisation. We have experienced that building relationships with certain employees can increase collaboration. Networking can also help you to get introduced to referrals outside the organisation. Or, it can even help meeting people who will help you to achieve your business goals.
For example, you might meet that one qualified person who is a great addition to your team. Or a potential client that is searching for a skill that you are offering. You must have heard of the phrase: you never know, if you never try – well, that totally relates to our view of networking.
Why is networking important?
Networking is an important part of your professional journey. It can help to boost your career growth and even help you to hear about (new) job opportunities. It can help you to grow on a personal level, improving your social and communication skills.
We get you, networking can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you are new to the game. However, with a positive mindset, it is possible to build confidence and even develop yourself as a person.
Don’t pressure yourself too much and enjoy all the new connections and conversations. The more you attend these events, the easier it gets and the more confidence you build. Oh, and don’t forget to follow up after the event and reach out to your new connections, this is where you can create new business opportunities and work for your company.
What are some networking tips? We listed a few of them below.
- We believe that talking to people you already know can make you feel more confident and at ease. Maybe there are some colleagues that are attending, or someone you know from the industry. We find it important to be aware of your attitude towards the people you are talking to at the event to amplify genuine conversations.
- Talking about attitude: every single person attending the networking event came to network and to connect. That is why we feel that our attitudes can be open and optimistic, as we all want the same experience. Also, with remote working, time pressure and e-mailing, it is hard to get a ‘real’ conversation with other professionals. So if you can get into a networking event, hooray! You’re getting F2F interactions, where you can really get a sense of what you and they are all about.
- If you are ready, you could try and start a conversation with the people who are introduced to you. Try to challenge yourself and ask open-ended questions, to study their behaviour and be open to new perspectives and insights. Asking open-ended questions gets people talking – it gets the conversation flowing, and eventually this leads to new conversation topics from their answers.
Some tips for asking questions.
- Prepare some ready-to-go questions. It could be beneficial to consider a few interesting questions in advance for which you would genuinely like to hear answers.
- Start the open-ended questions with words like ‘what’ or ‘how’. We do recommend being a little bit more cautious with ‘why’ questions because people could feel like they’ve been put on the defensive.
- You have been able to practice a little bit in your previous conversations. The last step is to talk to people you don’t know at all. By doing this, you are stepping out of your comfort zone and building invaluable skills that you will carry with you the rest of your life.
We hope the tips above will help you to relax more during these events. It is always good to come prepared and if you follow these steps we are sure you will feel more confident when attending networking events.
We have mentioned some of the benefits of networking before, but just to give you a summary:
- Increasing collaboration: networking can happen inside and outside the organisation. That means you can get to know colleagues from other departments and build relationships with them. This can increase collaborations within the company.
- New connections: when attending Networking Events, you will meet new people. Not all connections will help you along your business journey, but you might just meet that client you were looking for. Networking will help you to grow your network and create new connections.
- Personal Development: when meeting new people, you are developing your social skills and this can benefit you in the long run. It can definitely help you to build confidence and get comfortable around people you don’t know.
- Advice and support: sometimes it is nice to get a new perspective. Brainstorm with your new connections, share your ideas and even ask for feedback. Being around people in your industry can give you a lot of subjects to talk about and to learn from.
- Job opportunities: whether you are looking for a job or you are looking to hire someone. It is always good to get inside knowledge of your (new) connections. Networking Events are also great if you are your own boss, and you are looking to find new clients.