There have been so many exciting developments over the past few weeks that I would really love to share with you all. 2016 is shaping up to be an exceptionally busy year already so I am frantically trying to get organised (once I have moved house and unpacked those boxes this weekend!).
You have probably heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it is who you know” and this couldn’t be more precise. Networking gives us opportunities to meet people from different industries and backgrounds, it can open doors, expand your knowledge and even present job opportunities just by getting yourself out there.
Maintaining a work life balance when you are passionate about your profession is something that can be difficult to manage so I have to be incredibly disciplined on my time management. Therefore I am starting my spring clean early to get ahead of the game! I have recently started networking locally so in this post, I wanted to demonstrate how important networking can enhance your professional profile as well as giving you connections to people with priceless knowledge.
Recently I was invited by Mike Willis to the Northants Business Club for an evening of networking and I can honestly say that I have never felt such a warm welcome! The club is made up of professionals from varying industries and backgrounds which provides the opportunity to learn, network and do business with other like-minded people. Some are business owners and others like me are from larger companies so it is a really good mix, I was very excited to finally meet Karen Teago from Gravitas HR (after years of speaking with her online!) and Simon Merriman from Solved HR so it was also nice to meet HR professionals who run their own businesses to see what their experiences are like when you go out on your own. I also met many other people including Philip Walding who lectures at Northampton University and likes to tie the taxman up in knots! They were all lovely and I look forward to doing business with them when I set up on my own in the future.
Overall I really enjoyed the evening and I am looking forward to becoming a member, Mike has done a wonderful job in forming the club and bringing so many people together. To find out more about the Northants Business Club please visit their website: www.thebusinessclubnorthants.co.uk
I am also looking to join the Northamptonshire CIPD committee in the spring. It involves helping the branch run events, discuss future trends and keeping up to date with the latest from the HR world. Assisting with your local branch holds a wealth of benefits, it will also help raise your professional profile as well as enhancing your Continuous Professional Development (CPD). You will also achieve wider knowledge of the CIPD, employment law and the future of HR. To find out more about your local branch or to become a CIPD member, please visit their website www.cipd.co.uk
If all that wasn’t enough, there are some very exciting things already in the diary for March, April and May so it looks like I am certainly going to be busy over the next few months. I will tell you more as soon as I am able to so watch this space!
Networking can be a daunting prospect but once you attend your first couple of events you’ll probably find it a lot more enjoyable than you think and always remember that if you are not out there raising your profile, no one else will be doing it for you! Here are my top tips if you are new to networking:
- Take your time! Find the right networking group for you, do your research on the content and discussion points. Many networking groups have their previous minutes/meeting details available on their website so you can see if the topics are of interest to you
- Get tweeting! Social networks are fantastic to view discussion points from like-minded professionals, Twitter is excellent for this and many groups and companies now have a Twitter page so quick short updates are great to get a snap shot into trends
- Bring your stuff! If you are face to face networking, everyone loves a freebie! I took a bunch of Forterra branded pens with me to the Northants Business Club and they went down a storm. Don’t forget your business cards or contact details, most people will also find you on Linked In after the event so do ensure your profile is up to date
- Get to know people, introduce yourself and more importantly be yourself. People are not always sold on a product or service, it is generally known that people enjoy doing business with people they know and trust so take your time when getting to know them. Regularly keep in touch to get the most from your relationships and you never know when your knowledge will come in handy for someone else!
- Take notes! When you ask for someone’s card after having a great conversation, take notes on their business card after they walk away or immediately after the event. This will help you to be more specific in your follow-up with them
- Don’t try too hard to meet too many people. Focus on making a small group of solid connections, meet a few people and ensure you create a memorable dialogue and establish lasting relationships
- Join in! Get stuck in and don’t be afraid to get involved. Wait for a natural break in group conversations to introduce yourself as others will enjoy meeting someone new
I hope this has helped some of you to get motivated and get networking, make 2016 your year!
Thank you for reading and keep the comments coming! Sharing is caring so please share with your colleagues, friends or connections if you feel it could help them. Last but by no means least, if there is something you’d like to see featured on the blog, please leave me a comment below!