Monday, 2 February 2015


Networking is about building relationships with other people who might be useful to you now or in
the future or to other people you know as a referral for example.

Here are some tips that might help you.

1. Most events will have a name badge for you. I think it’s a good idea to have your own with
just your name on it. If you subscribe to L4G you get a name badge with your own QR code
on it. Wear your badge on the top left as this is where people’s eyes are normally drawn to.

2. Be punctual so you’re not on the back foot and head for the people who you want to meet.

3. Dress to impress – first impressions do count. Bear in mind the type of event you are going
to and in what capacity you are going. Think positive thoughts and feel confident about
yourself and this will show up in your body language naturally.

4. Introduce yourself by saying what you do in your work rather than be defined by your job
title e.g. I help people move on in their lives (keep it short and a bit ambiguous), this would beg the question ‘how do you do that’ or ‘what do you mean?’ Think about the impact and what differentiates you from people doing something similar.

5. Ask the other person if there is anything you could help them with. Make the other person
feel special and important. The emphasis here is on ‘givers gain’; which means that if you
give you will gain in the longer term.

6. Have some fun – you might make friends for life with someone in the room.

7. If possible get the other person to speak first as this is polite. You could take a few notes -
maybe have a small A6 note book on you or make a note on the business card they give you
if they’d like to have a 1-1 at a later date.

8. Acknowledge the people you do know in the room and make a point of meeting new people.
Think of this as a great opportunity to gain access to these people that might otherwise be
difficult to access.

9. Before you go to an event have a look at who else is going (Eventbrite events normally show
this when you register) and plan who you want to meet, you could even google them to find
out about them in advance. It’s quite likely that someone might have googled you too. If
you’re not sure who you’d like to meet set yourself the goal of meeting 3 or 4 new people.

10. Make sure your social media profiles are consistent and up to date. Limit access to your
Facebook account to friends and family only. Note if you put up any photos Facebook
technically owns them and can use them as they wish.

11. Be friendly – if two people are talking face to face don’t interrupt but if they’re standing at a
45 degree angle ask if you can join them. If someone is standing by the wall on their own go
up and introduce yourself and ask them what they do – I like asking this question ‘what do
you do when you’re not at work?’ As this helps to get to know someone better.

12. Some people don’t get networking at all – they think they have to be pushy and can
bombard you with information that you don’t really want. Shake their hand and say
something like ‘it was nice meeting you and hope to see you again but there are some other
people I want to meet before they go.’

13. Eye contact is good but don’t stare. Also don’t invade the other person’s personal space.

14. Shake hands firmly and avoid putting your other hand on top as this could be perceived as

15. Business cards – make sure that yours is of good quality as people tend to rub cards between
their fingers. You could have the same card but in different colours or with different images
on the reverse. If so, you could give people a choice; they are likely to remember this. Make
sure the font is 10 point and above. To be memorable you could have your photo on your
business card and even state your favourite, book, film and place as a good icebreaker.

16. Afterwards, ask yourself how you thought it went and make a note; look for the positives. Is
there anything you would do differently next time? And build on this.

17. Follow up afterwards. Send an email within 3 or 4 days after the event saying it was really
nice to meet them and suggest having a 1-1 meeting to find out more about what they do
and how you could collaborate.

18. You probably won’t build a relationship with 80% of the people in the room but you might
with 20%. Have a look at your notes to jog your memory about what this person’s specialism
is or what project they’re working on or maybe their child has just left home or started a new
job – and ask about it to convey your interest in them. If you promised to send them a
document or the name of someone who could help them or something else make sure you
do this. Relationships grow if you keep in contact with people.

Debra Oakaby January 2015
www.careerdevelopment.londonTel. 07906 007613