Networking is a powerful tool in the world of business. Meeting people in related fields can lead to all sorts of relationships being formed, and you could gain information that you would never have had otherwise.
I recently met a Chartered Accountants Australia Careers Engagement Specialist at a networking event at the University of Queensland. Not only did I gain valuable information about the CA program that I went to discover, we also gained an opportunity to meet with aspiring young accountants through an event that CA was running. Had I simply looked up information on the website we would not have made this important connection.
Networking can also lead to gaining clients that require the services that you offer, making connections with other professionals that you could use to bounce off and even finding out what the culture is inside a business that you are looking to apply for a job with.
So how do you network effectively to gain these important relationships? Here are some of the tips I have learnt the hard way!
1. Remember names!
When you meet someone take a note of their name, whether that be grabbing a business card or jotting it down on some paper afterwards. There's not much point in meeting someone if you can't remember their name!
2. Take some business cards
It's a bit awkward when someone asks you for your business card and you don't have anything to give them. Even if you just have a generic one that you can give them to get in contact with you later is better than nothing.
3. Ask questions
Have an idea of what you want to get out of meeting someone so that you come away with more information than what you left with. Have a few questions in mind so that you can get the conversation rolling.
4. It's a two way street
Let them know a bit about you. You never know, you may be able to assist the person you are meeting as well. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself and what you do. This is the perfect place to use your elevator pitch so have one ready!
Networking is a great way to meet new people and form important relationships but is also lots of fun. Don't be afraid, be flexible, and you could come away with some great outcomes. The more you network the better you will become so don't give up!
See here for more top tips for successful networking from The UQ Business School: