How to Network at Professional Events 

Connections help businesses thrive and open doors to new opportunities. Developing and maintaining a diverse network is a powerful thing to do for your career. Every time you connect with someone, you’ll gain a new source of inspiration and advice. During the beginning of your career, your network is an invaluable source of guidance. This means connecting with the right people for advice on developing your skillset and handling difficult situations at work.

As you become more established and experienced, your network will become a group of peers to share your best practice with. Networking won’t just benefit you; it can connect you with like-minded professionals. Working with these individuals can give you a fresh perspective, including new ideas and approaches to bring to your work.

Networking Has Many Advantages:

Career Advice – having contacts in different sectors or senior roles means that you could offer more valuable advice.

Mentoring – this person will be providing you with a long-term perspective and help you reflect on your business from another perspective.

Information – if you’re working on a specific topic, consider going through your contacts and asking if someone specializes in that subject.

Networking Can Take Place in Many Different Forms:

Job Fairs – they may seem intimidating, but they will benefit you massively if you’ve just left university. They’re usually free and more than likely will be sponsored by universities and companies in your area.

Volunteer Work – it doesn’t always seem appealing to do something for free, mainly if you’ve spent some time working. You could even find volunteering opportunities in the field that you’d like to pursue. To find these opportunities, find a few companies that you could see yourself working for, and send them an email asking about volunteering opportunities.

Social Media Groups – Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect for meeting new people in your field. If you’ve made a few friends in your area already, ask if they could suggest any groups for you.

Web Courses/Webinars – Some web courses you might find helpful are: Learning People, High-Speed Training, Reed, Courses Online.

Conferences – Many conferences can be expensive, but they’ll be worth your time. They provide educational opportunities as well as encouraging an environment for genuine connections and effective networking.

Useful Websites for Your Career Connections:

Social Media & Branding Reps

Personal branding can cover some basics, such as focusing on values and strengths,  setting your priorities, and being yourself. Social media reps can provide knowledge regarding what’s working and what isn’t, what has more engagement, and what is lacking. It is useful to have a social media rep if you’re unable to keep that side of your business afloat due to the strain of other work-related commitments.

You can find a social media and branding rep on different sites such as:

Upwork

PrimePixels

Peopleperhour

Fiverr

A Mentor

You might find your mentor amongst other managers with whom you’ve previously worked. Once you’ve met with them, keep this person in your network—consider scheduled check-ins over lunch and offer to pay it forward. To establish a relationship with a lifetime mentor, it’s helpful to have these active approaches:

  • Be transparent and inclusive
  • Find shared interests
  • Talk more than business
  • Be reliable
  • Continue to go above and beyond
  • Respect each other at all times

Mentors support you after a setback, provide you with honest feedback, help you clarify your position or situation, motivate and inspire, teach from their experiences, and ask powerful questions that will get your mind ticking over.

You can find a mentor by networking and informing individuals that you’re looking for a mentor via social media. If this is something you’ve already touched on and you’re still struggling with the idea, you can join PushFar’s mentoring platform, which opens you up to being found by thousands of professionals all over the world. Another mentoring platform is Find a Mentor, which allows you to find prospective mentors within your expertise area.

In your organization, you might find that they offer internal mentoring programs for the employees. If you’re unsure, then consider investigating and enquiring with your manager. You may also find that your school, college, university, and other educational institutions offer mentoring programs for their alumni. This is another thing you could consider enquiring about.

If you’re looking for something else, then you could try a volunteer event. It’s a great way to meet like-minded professionals, and you can use it to find volunteering opportunities in your city or town that match your interests. A site that enables you to find these events is Volunteer Match.

Finding Someone with An Alternative Perspective

Consider looking in places that you wouldn’t usually look. You need to go a little bit outside of your comfort zone and ask friends if they know anyone in your industry of choice. Broaden your social and professional circle. This is a difficult step as we usually surround ourselves with people similar to us. Think of conferences or events you’ve been to recently. You might remember a friendly face. Your polar opposite will be able to provide you with ideas that you might not have thought about, including different avenues down the business route. The best places to look right now to hire someone on a freelance basis are:

An Interviewing Expert

Interviewing skills are complex. We might not practice these capabilities often if we stay in a job for years or have promotion opportunities. So, when we decide to take the leap and find a new job, then we might feel like a fish out of water. Find someone you know and feel comfortable with from a previous job, such as a colleague or senior leader, who has excellent interview tips. Have practice sessions with them and allow them to criticize if need be.

It can feel entirely fake when you’re practicing an interview. You feel as if you wouldn’t say some of those things when it hits the real deal, but roll with it. Usually, the best interview experts are HR colleagues or those who work high in turning over positions.

A Skills Coach

It’s vital to identify our flat spots when it comes to career success. It could be around technical parts of your job or around softer skills such as building emotional intelligence. Either way, a skills coach is an important addition.

Through your self-assessments or your annual review report, find two or three skills you’d like to refine. Sift through your contacts and find someone who excels in this and get them booked in for a coffee to discuss your thoughts further. You might have seen a colleague doing a great job at a speaking gig. Pull them aside and ask if you can book in for a coffee to have a chat and ask for advice.

There are a few ways in which you can find your ideal skills coach. You could find your skills coach from a referral via friends, families, colleagues, or acquaintances. You could also post on your social media, ensuring that you write exactly what you’re looking for and what you expect from the particular person.

You may find a coaching directory useful to find your skills coach. There are many websites available.

  • Life Coach Directory
  • Hello Ezra
  • TrustedCoachDirectory