Create and foster a powerful network
These days, it’s a must to build and look after your network. When looking for a job, you’ll recognise the importance of an authentic network as 70-80% of jobs aren’t even advertised. Instead of going through hundreds of CVs, companies are relying on their employees to refer the right candidate.
But a valuable network is not only for job seekers.
This region sees so many networking events taking place on a regular basis. There’s almost no excuse to not attend them. How do you work that room?
Be proactive. If you’re new to this region, start reaching out before you even get here. Sign up for networking events in advance or arrange meetings with your LinkedIn connections. Ask your contacts already here for introductions.
Decide what you want to get out of it. Whether you’re attending a workshop, a networking event or a one-to-one session, be clear about the desired outcome. When participating in a workshop, you may want to connect with individuals who are engaged in similar projects and who could become a sounding board for you.
Dress the part. You can only make a first impression once and especially in this region, image means a lot. Not everyone will remember your name, however, they will remember if you wear a scruffy outfit, if that’s not representative for the event.
Create a catching elevator pitch. Consider local networking events almost like speed dating. Attendees may not give you 15 minutes to find out what you do. Prepare a clear and crisp description of who you are, what you are and possibly also what you are looking for. It’s part of your first impression. Make it stick!
Be genuine. Are you looking to increase your business card collection? This may backfire as more and more individuals are looking for a real connection. Listen to the other person, find out more about them and show sincere interest in them. Have a repertoire of questions for the other person to start the dialogue.
Widen your focus. Attend networking meetings across different industries. Meeting individuals in roles not related to yours. Gaining insights from other industries and roles can increase your thinking outside the box. And you never know, you may work on a project outside your current industry in the future.
Don’t just call when you need a favour. Drop your contacts a note or meet them for a coffee while catching up on their live. Use them as a sounding board, as appropriate. Maintaining the contact throughout the year will allow you to rely on that person much more than the out of the blue call for a huge favour.
A few years ago, I would attend all networking events my work scheduled allowed me to. These days, I attend almost all events of my business club. However, I only pick other events if a) the topic is one I need to know about or b) want to learn about. I’m very selective about general events, after all my time is valuable, too!
Last year, I was asked by one of my local LinkedIn contacts to meet – over the phone. Initially, I was surprised by her approach, yet, loved this meeting. There was no hassle driving anywhere. She achieved her objectives and I was happy to talk longer than scheduled with her, as there was no rush to drive back to the office.
Now over to you: How do you network?
Until next time,