Networking – A gift!

Networking is an effective tool; we all recognize the benefits of building and maintaining relationships in the work we do, whatever the sector and whatever the scale. Networking, however, is not something that comes naturally to most of us and can indeed be crippling to those who are socially anxious at the best of times.  This past week I attended a conference in Ohio with approximately 349 other delegates.  The opening address was warm and welcoming but what struck me most was the charming manner in which the speaker, on the board of the event organizers, acknowledged the trepidation some might have about the networking ahead. He encouraged everyone to venture forth and meet as many others as possible and if the very idea was too daunting then please feel free to use his name. He gave permission to every one of us to approach someone new and say “Tim said I should introduce myself to you.”  How very helpful!  The mood in the room lightened immensely and I’m sure there were sighs of relief. I must say, the networking at this event was some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever participated in – almost every conversation referred with gratitude and appreciative humour to Tim’s kind gesture.  

Networking Tips

  • Read the newspaper or watch/listen to the news before attending an event.  An understanding of current events contributes to confident and interesting conversation.
  • Hold your cold beverage in your left hand so your right hand is not cold and wet when you come to shaking hands.
  • Aim to listen as much as speak.  Be conscious that the flow of conversation is equal.
  • Follow up by sending an e-mail or forwarding an article relating to a mutually interesting topic discussed with someone at the networking event. This will help build a new relationship and show that you were paying careful attention.

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