When you started out in your career, maybe you were told about the importance of networking… but maybe you weren’t. We’re here to either tell you for the first time (or to remind you!) that networking is super important for career and personal development.
A strong professional network means that you’re constantly learning from others and opening up new opportunities for yourself (and others). Yet despite these benefits, many women within the Yellow Eve community feel hesitant about networking, perhaps due to their age/junior level job, their perceived lack of value to give to others or because they simply don’t know the ‘etiquette’.
To put your mind at ease, we asked some experts for their tips on how to network effectively. Read their advice below and then book into our next friendly, informal and social networking circle where professional women (employed & freelance) are welcome to connect for free!
Sonya Barlow, Diversity Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, Founder of the @LMFnetwork
How we build our networks has changed. Before, you connected with people through events. Now, you interact online. That is why the best networking tip I can give is to build a personal brand using social media. It will be easier and smoother to connect with others if they can see who you are and what you are passionate about.
Share your story and showcase your knowledge. Post regularly by creating small posts or comment on industry news to be more visible to like-minded people. Networking can bring opportunities. Challenge yourself to have conversations and exchange ideas, connect and have a virtual coffee with them. Listen and ask them how you can help them before asking for help. All it takes is a small step to begin building your community.
Juliette Smith, Relationship Coach and Counsellor
I think we need to start changing some of our assumptions and fears about what others might think about us if we publicly declare our skills, qualities, and values. How is anyone going to know any of those things about you, if you don’t tell them? As women, we’re natural relationship builders so let’s get over ourselves and show people what we’re made of – whether in our work or personal lives. We need to replace our modesty with confidence and our fear of derision with a belief that people will want to know about our talents, qualities, and skills. To quote Marianne Williamson: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
Charlotte Davies, Consumer Communications and Career Expert, LinkedIn
Be active on social – This can help you get noticed by the right people and build your network by connecting with people who share mutual interests. Share a personal story that might inspire or help others going through a similar situation. Just finished a great webinar or online-learning course? Share some key outtakes and tips in an article that you found interesting. It’s a great way to gain insights from others, expand and engage with your LinkedIn network. Show future employers that you’re proactive.
Arrange a meet-up – If you feel comfortable doing so, reach out to the other person to ask if they’d like to meet in person. While virtual networking is an incredibly helpful tool, if you’ve got video-call fatigue, nothing beats meeting up with someone face-to-face. To be on the safe side, make the most of the summer weather and meet up outdoors.
Stay in touch – Now that you’ve made some great connections, the important part is keeping in touch. Remember that networking is about building trusted relationships and sharing information – not just asking for favours. You can do this is by communicating on LinkedIn – react to the posts they’ve authored, congratulate them on a promotion, invite them to an upcoming virtual event, or introduce them to someone else in your circle that could help them – hopefully, they will do the same for you when you need it.