Networking top tips

Written by

Published

Blog type

Key topics

4 min read

Whether you are a fresh faced new Business School student, or a successful career person 10 years out, brushing up on your networking skills is always a useful exercise. We asked Business School staff and faculty for their top tips:

Get personal

Networking doesn’t just have to mean talking about work. Sometimes the best connections happen when you share your passions and interests and find some common ground. If you don’t feel confident talking about yourself, ask questions about other people’s passions, backgrounds or trends in their industry. Good networking is also about knowing when to listen!
Crystal Grant, Director of Admissions

My networking top tip, is speak to the person not just the business, find out something you can refer to at a later date e.g are they going on holiday, a restaurant they like, if they have kids etc. Then in any follow up correspondence you can start it with: “I hope you had a great holiday in ……..” or “I tried that restaurant you recommended and it was great.” This then creates a personal connection and creates a better platform for building a relationship.
Julia McShane, Student Experience Manager

Be genuine

Don’t confuse quantity with quality! It’s better to have a several meaningful conversations than to introduce yourself to everyone in the room.
Crystal Grant, Director of Admissions

Networking is about making meaningful connections, so it’s really important to listen and learn from the other people in the room. It’s not just about career progression, but finding ways to engage and develop relationships that can support you both professionally and personally. Be open, be yourself, ask questions and remember that everyone feels a bit uncomfortable!
Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations

Following up with a ‘nice to meet you’ email and a quick summary of the discussion you had at the event is vital. I always try to send such emails first thing in the morning on the day after the event (assuming that it was an evening networking event), and certainly before the end of the day. This demonstrates clearly to the other person that you took the conversation seriously and are keen to move things forward.
Paul Mburu, Head of Development

Networking is not something that should make you feel uncomfortable. It’s something you do every day anyway without thinking – such as going for a coffee with colleagues simply because you want to, or calling up a friend you’ve not talked to in a long time, or deciding to go along to a conference to meet new people linked to your field of work. A lot of it is building up good will without any expected returns. Just a putting a little thought into when it may be productive to put people in touch with each other – and when it may worthwhile to reach out to new pockets of specialists – may be all that is needed to make your networking work for you.
Dr Anne ter Wal, Assistant Professor of Technology & Innovation Management taken from his research; Where are we going wrong with our networking? 

Broaden your horizons

Be strategic in how you use your network. Your closest friends may move in similar circles to you, but reaching out to friends of friends or colleagues of colleagues will give you the broadest range of referral opportunities and help to expand your network into different spheres. Sometimes the best opportunities come along when you least expect them!
Crystal Grant, Director of Admissions

Make networking a specific major element of your integrated career planning and job search, not just an unstructured bolt on. Also map out your network to help you be clear about who you have got, with what capability, in what areas.  If there’s an obvious major gap work out how to close it.
Jon Tucker, Faculty Operating Officer

Be tactical

Networking time is a finite resource for both you and them.  Whenever spending any time on it always get clear first what it is you want to achieve. Prepare to network as thoroughly as you would prepare for an interview to ensure you both you get the most out of it and feel it was a good use of time. Use ‘hard to get time with’ contacts very carefully and sparingly in the way that will achieve maximum impact for their time and expertise.
Jon Tucker, Faculty Operating Officer

Written by

Published

Blog type

Key topics

Celia Pearce

About Celia Pearce

Alumni Communications Executive
Celia is responsible for all the communications to Business School alumni and this includes the monthly newsletter, alumni profiles and features, alumni blogs, event marketing, the website and social media. Please contact Celia if you have any queries regarding communications to alumni of the Business School.