As the world gradually resumes its pre-pandemic rhythm, networking events have roared back to life, presenting many opportunities for professionals. These gatherings take many forms, from large-scale conferences and local user groups to virtual LinkedIn meetups. However, they all share a common goal – providing a platform not only to connect but also for in-depth industry insights and knowledge sharing.
The Benefits of Networking
Connecting with Like-minded Professionals
In this era of remote work, socialising and networking have taken a hit. Networking events offer an opportunity to meet and greet like-minded individuals within your industry. Putting faces to the names creates deeper professional relationships, vital in today’s interconnected world.
Gateway to Job Opportunities
Networking events often serve as a hub of opportunities for job seekers. Meeting decision-makers and industry influencers provides a chance to showcase your expertise, potentially opening doors to new roles. Simultaneously, companies benefit by discovering promising talent to bolster their teams.
Learning & Development
Staying updated with the latest industry trends, technologies, and techniques is essential for professional growth. Networking events act as a wealth of knowledge, enabling attendees to learn about advancements in their respective fields, which they can then implement in their work.
Exploring New Places
With the rise of remote work, many of us can feel confined to the same four walls. Networking events can offer a chance to step into new cities and environments – some in other countries, allowing you to experience different cultures.
Freebies and Swag
While not the primary focus, who doesn’t appreciate a little extra? Many events come with sponsors who often give away free merchandise – a lovely bonus to the networking experience.
Tips to Make the Most of Networking Events
Come Prepared: Equip yourself with business cards or a digital QR code linked to your LinkedIn profile for efficient follow-ups after the event.
Ready Your CV: If job prospects are on your mind, ensure your CV is polished and ready to be shared at a moment’s notice. Immediate responses can make a lasting impression.
Be Confident: Stepping out of your comfort zone might be daunting, but it’s where growth happens. Be confident, initiate conversations, and showcase your true self.
Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve from the event. Whether it’s making a certain number of connections, gaining insights on a specific topic, or identifying job opportunities, having clear objectives helps you stay focused and productive.
Be a Genuine Listener: While you’re eager to share your experiences and insights, take the time to actively listen to others. Ask open-ended questions and show genuine interest in their responses. Networking is a two-way street.
Follow Up Promptly: After the event, don’t let those newly established connections fade away. Send follow-up emails or messages within a day or two, referencing your discussion. Make sure you personalise each message to reinforce the memory of your conversation.
Stay Informed and Relevant: Stay updated with industry news and trends to have meaningful discussions. Being informed showcases your dedication and enthusiasm for your field.
Attend Workshops or Sessions: If the event offers workshops or panel discussions, make an effort to attend them. These can provide valuable insights and allow for more interactive and focused networking opportunities.
Networking events come in various shapes and sizes, serving as effective platforms for professional development, personal enrichment, and industry insights. As we embrace a post-COVID era, we can use these events to reignite old connections, create new relationships, and for professional development.
Have a go at implementing these tips at the next event you head to – and get the most out of your networking!
If you’re passionate about Microsoft Cloud technologies, the South Coast Summit is on this Saturday 14th October at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre. This free event is dedicated to the world of Microsoft Cloud, and Mexa Solutions, a sponsor for the summit, will be there, and running an exciting competition on our stand. Come along and say hi – reserve your last-minute spot today: https://www.southcoastsummit.com/
For digital marketing enthusiasts in the South Coast, mark your calendars for the launch of South Coast Digital Marketing, a meetup on Tuesday, 14th November 2023, at the Solent Hotel, Whiteley. Expect enlightening sessions and, free food and a beer on arrival! Claim your free spot at South Coast Digital Marketing Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/south-coast-digital-marketing/events/296557468/.