Networking, you either love it or loathe it but we all know it’s a necessity in the world of business. As a Recruitment Partner, 99% of my job is some form of ‘networking’ – whether that be with current clients, business prospects, new candidates, or previous placements. After a few years of attending planned events and building relationships with a variety of business professionals, I still see a pattern of hesitancy towards networking.
It got me thinking, with such mixed reviews about networking why do people still show up? Is it an information gathering mission? Do they genuinely want to meet like-minded people? Is it more comforting to join the masses and let others ask the same questions that you’ve so badly wanted answered? Whatever way you slice it, in my opinion networking can only bring benefits to your business and personal brand.
Everest People hosted our quarterly ‘Employment Express’ last week. For those of you who don’t know, we put this event on for our clients and connections to get together and listen to our guest speakers. Vicki Campbellhas partnered with us for the first time this year from Equilibrium Legal and Andrea Twaddle continues to partner with us year on year, Director of DTI Lawyers. These two have been our subject matter experts this year on upcoming changes to employment law, and varying employment scenarios which business owners and HR Managers should be aware of. The room was packed, the seats were full, the conversation was flowing, and the hard questions were being fired to the front of the room.
Here are some thoughts from a couple of our clients who were in the room.
“There were several key takeaways, all the topics covered were very useful. Especially, the legislative updates around the Restraint of Trade Clause Bill going through Parliament and dealing with an employee who’s on extended medical leave. I was able to use that information for a real situation we’re currently dealing with at work. All really relevant information for us.” – Martin Thomas, GM (Student Residence Trust Aotearoa).
“I am always looking for opportunities to keep up to date with employment law and having seen Vicky speak at a previous Employment Express, I knew that I would enjoy it. Meeting and learning from other HR professionals and assisting them where I can. Vickys discussion on Fair Pay Agreements and her view on how they resemble the Australian Awards was a great help, especially with me having worked in Australia for the last 18 years.
I made useful connections at Employment Express, both with people that I had met once or twice previously and with a school friend that I had not seen in years who is also an HR Professional. It is also great to see the Everest team!! “– Sally Miller, People and Culture Manager (Cycling New Zealand).
Now, Employment Express is only one type of networking event. As you can see from our client’s commentary, this was for the sole purpose of information gathering and expanding their knowledge from professionals in the People and Culture and Employment Law space. We’re seeing a theme of information sharing networking events which is fantastic for those who want bite sized bits of knowledge to fit in with their busy schedules. These events may start out with 10-15 minutes of general chit chat but then you’re straight in and seated to listen to or interact with guest speakers.
How does one prepare for those first 10-15 minutes? Or possibly a networking event that has no agenda and is solely for the purpose of building connections and expanding one’s network? Well, I’ll tell you! Here are some top tips from a few of the Everest team on how to put your best foot forward when networking.
Go into a networking event with a warm smile. It will always be someone’s first event! If someone is standing alone, go chat to them. –Tammee Wilson, Relationship Manager.
Arrive with an extrovert so you can learn how to open conversations and engage with new people. Ask them to make a couple of introductions for you and always utilise the expertise or natural gifts of your colleagues. – Jo Stuart, Trainer
Have a plan: talking to two new people and connecting with them on LinkedIn or follow up with an email to say you enjoyed meeting them. –Sharon Jefferies, Career and Candidate Coach.
Every networking event is different. So ask yourself, what is your purpose for attending this particular one? Is there a subject matter or topic of interest? How does this relate to your organisation? How can you engage others in the room and glean their experiences as a conversation starter? Is there someone specifically you want to connect with? –Helen Dale, Recruitment Partner.
Always take a business card or ask the people in the room for theirs! You will meet so many people and if your memory is questionable like mine, those business cards will save you later on down the line. Have fun with it, we are all just human beings at the end of the day. – Rachel Knox, Recruitment Partner.
Our next Employment Express event is October the 26th from 9am – 10:30am. Reach out to any of the Everest People team if you would like to register.
If you don’t want to wait that long before trying our networking top tips, then jump online and look for local networking groups to join or events to sign up for. The more you go, the more you grow!
Rachel Knox – Recruitment Partner