Knowing me knowing you – the importance of networking
13th July, 2022
As we find our ‘new normal’, it seems that many of us who once worked mostly in an office are now settling into a pattern of continuing to insist on Teams calls. This has replaced walking over to someone’s desk, or even having a quick chat at the coffee machine. Yes, it’s great working from home with the cameras turned off because you haven’t brushed your hair or you’re in your favourite loungewear, but then how do young professionals build their knowledge and forge meaningful connections?
During the pandemic, we were very focused on the importance of staying connected. The same should be applied to our careers.
Having the ability to build trusted relationships is a fundamental part of my role. Networking in person provides me with the opportunity to build relationships with new connections and also allows me to maintain and strengthen existing relationships.
Working at Dalriada Trustees, I’ve found networking is crucial for me to connect and build better relationships with clients and industry professionals. Networking has not only helped me improve on my soft skills, but has also increased my industry knowledge and introduced me to new topics and ideas.
Get out of your comfort zone
For most young professionals, networking means stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to speak to as many people as possible at events. Some refer to this as ‘getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’. Speaking in person allows you to put a face to a name, but also create lasting relationships and bonds on professional issues, and also personal interests. For me, these in person connections have provided opportunities to grow and learn, to build on my technical abilities, relationship management and communication skills.
The pandemic provided an opportunity for companies and networking groups to reassess how they conduct networking sessions. And it has opened up new opportunities to join events where location isn’t an issue. Whether it means Teams calls that lead to breakout rooms, speed dating style introductions or quizzes, creatively, we have continued to connect. Although it’s not a format I find as rewarding as in person events, in many ways it’s a lot easier than walking up to someone and introducing myself. Ultimately, it has allowed me to connect with many people across the country. It can certainly be a good introduction to networking for those new to the industry.
However, online networking has its limitations. It only works if we take ourselves off mute, switch on the camera and be present in conversations. Something all too easily overlooked! We must still get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Take time to connect
Networking doesn’t have to be a formal event with a room full of professionals. It can be as easy as, ideally, inviting a connection for a coffee in person or, if necessary, using Teams, walking over to someone’s desk for a chat, or just calling them out of the blue. It seems certain that there will continue to be a hybrid of networking activities.
So now I’ve shared some thoughts on why I think networking is important, what’s next? If it’s something you’re considering trying, I would suggest looking into local events and networking groups with which you are keen to build connections and experience. But remember, if it’s virtual get involved, ‘get uncomfortable’.
If you’re looking to connect with likeminded pensions professions, Dalriada Trustees organises ‘Future Influencer’ events throughout the year in a number of locations across the UK. The events are open to all ages and targeted for those early in their career. If you’d be interested in joining a future event, please contact Caroline Torres (firstname.lastname@example.org).