Networking is something many of us are not very comfortable with; Do I really have to walk into a room full of people I don’t know and start a conversation with someone? What if they don’t want to talk to me? What if they find me boring? What if I say something stupid? I’m sure we have all felt apprehensive before one of these events but I bet you actually enjoyed yourself when you were there, just a bit? I went to the Office Show today to pick up venue and supplier ideas but also to meet new people and get used to talking about Three Shots Ahead.  I joined the ‘how to network’  round table discussion hosted by David Clubb and Charlotte Jackson from Tate Recruitment and here are their top tips:

1) You are a brand: Sounds corny but it is important to create the right image online and in person. Think about what image you want to portray. It will differ depending on what sector you work in.

2) Sign up for LinkedIN: Include a profile picture, ensuring you look professional and be aware of the background in your photo.  Keep your CV brief, a few points per role but make sure you include your achievements. Join groups on LinkedIN and engage in the conversations. Write your own posts or articles and encourage people to engage with you. Connect with others, don’t be afraid to accept people into your network as long as they look genuine.

3) Be authentic: If you feel confident to say something to someone in person then say it on social media. Don’t be afraid to show your personality online and don’t just post about your business, post something interesting or useful for other people.

4) Create your elevator pitch: A 30 second sound bite about who you are, what you do and what you can offer others. Say something unique or interesting about you. Practice it before hand so you don’t get tongue tied and feel confident in saying it to someone else.

5) Sign up for networking events and award ceremonies: Before you go think about your intentions, i.e. What do you want to get out of the event? Is there someone specific you want to meet? (Ask for the attendee list before you go). Attend events on your own or in a group of three, that way it is easier for people to engage with you rather than two people deep in conversation.

6) Listen and ask questions: What can you offer the person you are speaking to?

7) Follow-up initial meetings with an email or connect on LinkedIN to continue the conversation.

Thanks to David and Charlotte for their invaluable advice. Tate are sponsoring this year’s London PA Awards at the Hippodrome Casino on 16th June 2017. Nominations close on 9th May and you can nominate your peers, colleagues and friends. In the photo from left to right: Charlotte Jackson, Sarah Richards, David Clubb