Earlier this month I popped along to the inaugural meeting of the Independent Women in Insurance Network (iWIN).
I had no idea what to expect (other than a really early morning – it started at 8am!).
However, the main talk by Julia Hobsbawm, a visiting professor at Cass Business School and the world’s first professor of networking, was extremely useful. (By the way, she has also just completed a series for BBC Radio 4 on networking, Networking Nation)
Given that we all have to network – or at least talk to strangers as some point – as part of our jobs, her advice is worth sharing:
- Network face-to-face – look people in the eye and get to know where they are coming from.
- Don’t stick to specialist networks – you’ll get stuck in them.
- Be as diverse as possible in your networking, reading, socialising – randomness will change your thinking, get you a new job, new relationship or so on.
- Upgrade your relationships with people you already know, don’t keep running round meeting new people – 150 is considered to be the maximum number of people we each know.
- Knowledge is important – this helps you make connections with new people.
- Expand your thinking by what you read or what you watch – go to different sources (e.g. Al Jazeera, Russia Today or CNN for news).
Of course I’ll still network in specialist groups and of course I will still be keen to meet new people, but I also intend to follow the points above in order to focus my networking efforts more effectively.
So I look forward to seeing my fellow networkers in due course to talk about all the unusual things you have discovered outside the world of employee benefits.