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A guide to networking

As an individual progresses through their career, it’s often the case that in order to be promoted or develop their career they choose (or are asked) to start networking.

Examples of networking:

  • Attending a trade event

  • A CPD session organised by a discipline-specific member organisation, for example, the RICS, RIBA or CIOB

  • Being invited to attend an awards ceremony with guests

  • Structured Business to Business networking via Teams / Zoom

Why network?

  • To get to know clients & potential clients

  • To develop business relationships

  • To develop a support network of a wide range of different professionals

  • To increase awareness of you and your company

  • To keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry

As a recruiter with 15 + years experience, and as a Director of the Forum for the Built Environment (a national not-for-profit organisation focused on networking within the built environment that produces a document called ‘A Guide to Networking’), here are a few suggestions as to best practice when networking, whatever the setting:

  • Listen! It’s a cliché, but we have two ears and one mouth, using them in this ratio and being attentive will show people that you have a genuine interest in them.

  • Remember all events will be made up of both experienced and inexperienced networkers. A good networker makes everyone feel welcome and is inclusive.

  • Be confident you can add value. Most people in the room will have a business-critical issue that they would like to discuss. Advice (if asked for!) will help to develop relationships and goodwill; people will want to meet you again.

  • Remember that everyone you meet is human, and will have interests outside of work, so if appropriate engage with them on a personal level and talk about hobbies, current affairs, etc 

  • Remember you are always networking (whether at the registration desk, getting a drink, or waiting for a presentation to start).

  • Review the list of attendees in advance (if possible) so that you can work out who you would like to meet. 

  • Smile and enjoy!