Networking is a very scary thing.
I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly shy, but at the same time the thought of going up to people I’ve never met before and trying to get them to:
a) like me lots and lots
b) potentially want to work with me
c) trust me and want to help me out
isn’t very pleasant. I know I’d be so aware that with one stupid comment I could have a bad reputation for years to come. And I can make a lot of stupid comments.
So I signed up to go to one of the events on in Guest Speakers Week. It was an insider’s guide to Networking. With Newcastle graduate and Chief Executive of the Logic Group (a company which processes 40% of card transactions in the UK), Antony Jones.
I thought it was worth a shot, it might be useful as most of the careers events are, and I wasn’t disappointed this time.
I had nothing to do before and so turned up early, which turned out to be a great idea as I got to chat with Mr Jones (I’m still hoping I made a good impression, or at least a half decent one)! It was great to hear from someone who’d been to many of these dreaded ‘networking events’ and not only survived but done amazingly well.
He gave advice which was obvious in some ways, but was fantastic to have spelt out:
-Never be rude to anyone (including waiters and waitresses!)
-Be genuine, attentive and interested – ask questions and listen with focus
-Never try and sell, meet people and make that move at a later date
-Always follow through when you say you will do something or make a commitment
-Think about the impression you want to give and make sure that you are prepared – what is your elevator speech?
-Know why you are there and what you want to achieve
-Get there on time/early and with a positive demeanour – leave your problems behind
–Communicate clearly without rambling – Don’t fill in with irrelevant information or go on too long
I hope everyone else finds this (in no way exhaustive) list of do’s and don’ts as useful as I did, and that it makes the idea of networking just a little bit less scary!