Last month I experienced one of Harrods’ twice-yearly Careers Week events, featuring a wide range of workshops, lectures and career stories. I took the opportunity to get out of the office and attend six different sessions, and one such session was “How to Network”, run by one of Harrods ‘ learning advisors, Rebecca Williams. There are lots of great opportunities to network within the archive community, and whilst the session I attended was aimed at a retail business, the session was really quite relevant for any networking opportunity.
The difference between networking and socialising? There is an end goal to networking
How to network
When attending networking events, be informed and read up on the event any any key speakers or attendees in advanced. It is important to know what is going on in your department and in the wider business context. Introduce yourself confidently and have a resource bank of go-to small talk, such as the event itself, relevant business projects, or even the weather (avoid controversial topics!) Using open questions in conversations show that you are interested, but make sure that you listen to the response and pay attention. If you have business cards, always keep some on hand – you never know when an opportunity to network. When using online networking tools, such as LinkedIn, make an effort to engage and be active. Post, share, and let people know who you are.
Whether you are networking in person or online, it is important that the words and language you use are appropriate to the situation; have conviction and be clear with your message.
The cost of not taking the opportunity to network can include missing out on opportunities, not showing your potential, not gaining knowledge from others, not building your internal and external contacts, missing out on the opportunity to develop and grow your confidence, and appearing disinterested.
The benefits of networking can include opportunities for career progression, raising your profile and the profile of your department, gaining knowledge and insight into different areas of the business or wider sector, increasing your contacts, and the opportunity to influence others.
Rebecca’s top tips for networking
- Be helpful
- Stay involved
- Be prepared
- Stay positive
- Be the best you
My thanks to Rebecca Williams for letting me share this post.