I am thankful that my work enables me to meet new and interesting people all of the time but I am still a little uncomfortable networking in a room full of people. I was invited to an event yesterday which began with the familiar sight of a large crowd, all happily chatting together like old friends. Yesterday I was rescued by a couple of gents who made it all look easy. They introduced themselves to me in turn and the conversation flowed from there.
Because they were so at ease, I asked for their thoughts about what makes a good networker. One answer focused on the attitude you have towards the room. “It’s like giving a speech at a wedding. You feel a little nervous at first but then you realise you have world’s most willing audience. They want you to succeed.” So, networking in a room full of people is made easier because no-one you approach will ever ignore you. Everyone is there to meet new people like you (or in this case me).
The second answer was a little more introspective. “Belong in the room. If you are nervous or uncomfortable it shows. I first came to events like this over forty years ago. One thing I wish I knew from the start was that I deserved to be there as much as anyone else!”
In career management and job search, networking and relationship building takes many forms. To be successful you have to communicate effectively via email, over the phone, through your CV/resume, at interview and - occasionally - in a room full of people.
The most successful people I have worked with (from a career management perspective) are those individuals who communicate well across all available media. They are never experts at everything when they begin but they work on their weaknesses, improving their performance in the numerous disciplines.
Successful career managers also communicate consistently and with meaning, especially on the subject of their values, talents and goals. They ensure that after any encounter, the other party knows what is important to them, where their strengths lie and what their aims are for the future.
If they happen to read this post, I send my sincere thanks to the experts who shared their knowledge and experience with me yesterday and, in doing so, made me feel welcome in their company. When the next event comes around, their words will be among the first things I have with me when I walk into the room.
Enjoy your weekend!