Building relationships with others can be vital to your career growth
1 Let’s get ready
First, networking events won’t always be branded as such; in fact, they rarely are. Seminars or courses run by ACCA offices, recruitment consultancy careers evenings, and college welcome nights are all opportunities to make contacts. But do your homework – if you can, find out who will be there and identify target contacts. If there’s going to be a speaker, chances are he or she will be good to know, and will also attract other people who might also be useful to meet.
2 Work that room
Arrive with clear objectives, including how you want to be remembered – for instance, are you looking to change jobs soon? Do you have a service to offer that new contacts will want? Can you sum up your objectives in a couple of sentences? If you identify an important contact, don’t try to keep them to yourself. Gently does it – establishing a lasting rapport takes time. And don’t be obsessed with handing out business cards; it’s better to collect them – that way, you don’t depend on them calling you.
3 The morning after
Don’t jump on the phone the next day to call everyone you met. Put a system in place to record your contacts and plan when to follow them up. Identify appropriate future occasions when you could send an email – such as reading about them or their organisation, or mentioning a sporting team they support, or an activity they enjoy. Consider linking up with them on a business networking site such as LinkedIn or Ecademy (both of which are global) – that way you can stay in touch unobtrusively.