Networking has become increasingly popular over the last number of years. Examples of networking events include; Open Coffee Mornings, Business Group e.g. BNI, BPW, Network; Chamber of Commerce Meetings and events, College Seminars, Public Networking Events, Marketing Institute of Ireland, ACCA, CIPD, etc. There are networking events happening in every city and town each week so tune into local press or radio to hear details of what is happening near to you.
It is vital to use these opportunities and to be proactive while attending – if you are nervous about walking into a room of strangers by yourself then bring along a friend. By attending networking events you get the opportunity to meet new people and introduce yourself into new circles. You have to be prepared to talk – introduce yourself and speak about yourself.
Be sure to have your thirty-second sales pitch ready outlining who you are and what it is you do or hope to do – perhaps even have a business card with your name, area of expertise and contact details ready to hand out.
Networking events assist you in developing a rapport with your peers and potential future employers. You may get speaking to someone from a company that is experiencing a problem and you might have helpful suggestions or solutions for them and this ultimately can lead to an employment opportunity.
Networking events give you the opportunity to keep up to date with developments in your profession as many of these events have key note speakers bringing a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject so you can learn while you network!
They also give you a chance to meet with like-minded individuals and professionals in your area of interest – again widening your circle of contacts continuously which is imperative in this market. If you exchange business cards with other individuals at these events why not send a connection to them on LinkedIn on the following day – this will facilitate future contact and correspondence.
So look out for local networking events and make a plan to attend a number of such events in the coming weeks – no time like the present to start!