NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
We’re more connected than ever before – and yet somehow we’re also less in touch. Which is why the ability to network in person as well as online is a necessary skill – one of the most powerful professional tools and one full of career benefits. Networking needs you to be a little bold so don’t be the guy owning the corner of the room/function/bar/lunch/dinner/conference talking to the colleagues you already spend too much time with. It’s also often likened to a contact sport – that is, you need to be out and about and bumping into people. Do research and see where some people within your industry hang out, then get there. Another key to strong networking is to target specific people. It may sound a little stalkerish, but it’s simply about realising who can best be of benefit, and seeking them out. When Trump sensed the parallels between his potential victory and Brexit, he actively tapped up Nigel Farage, then leader of anti-eu political party Ukip, made friends, before introducing him as “Mr Brexit” at a rally in Mississippi. The message to American voters was clear – if the British can do something radical, you can, too. Ultimately then, networking is about interacting and engaging for a mutual benefit. Farage’s pre-election friendship has seen him now become Trump’s go-to British politician with an even bigger worldwide reputation. So, on meeting someone – a target, let’s say – scout out the areas where perhaps you can first assist them, before launching into your wants and needs. This builds trust, a sense of attractiveness, and, over time, connecting beyond a business level – because clients and contacts move on whereas ‘friends’ remain. There’s a reason How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie’s 1936 tome, still holds up in today’s modern, electronic-driven age – because the skills of networking, or engaging with others, in person, haven’t overly changed. So get yourself out there and start networking to your advantage.