Networking is a fantastic way to secure a new job and discover new opportunities. It is also about sharing knowledge and ideas, making real connections and helping giving back to the professional community. Networking can be daunting, especially if you aren’t entirely comfortable in social situations. You might be unsure how to proceed, or what networking actually involves, which is why we’ve put together a guide for networking in 2023.
Why is networking in 2023 important?
Networking isn’t something everybody does, a lot of people underestimate the value of networking simply because they do not appreciate all the benefits. When people think about the benefits to networking in 2023, their mind tends to go to assume the only benefit is job opportunities. It is true that networking is a fantastic tool for career growth, but there are lots of other advantages to networking, such as:
- Sharing ideas and knowledge: communicating with other professionals, even ones outside your industry, can be an incredibly valuable educational tool. Not only can you learn from other people’s success stories, and/or failures, but you can also bounce your ideas off them, and benefit from their feedback. Networking also helps you to learn about new advances and changes in business.
- Securing new jobs: when it comes to applying to new jobs, it can be very beneficial to have connections at the company, and networking can provide this for you.
- New opportunities: Connecting to professionals outside of your business will expose you to more opportunities as they arise.
- Communication skills: networking and speaking to other people helps you to develop your communication skills, especially if you feel anxious in social situations. This can then help you in your career, in job interviews, meetings and presentations, for example.
Networking helps you to grow professionally, socially and personally.
How to start networking in Birmingham
There are lots of different ways you can start networking and lots of different groups of people you can network with. For example, there are industry-specific networking groups and ladies-only networking in Birmingham groups. Some networking events are held on the evenings, others at lunchtime or during the day, and all vary in size. The first thing you should do is take the time to think about what you want to achieve from a networking group, who you want to connect with, and how comfortable you feel in different groups of different sizes. The next step is to research the available networking groups that are close enough to you. If you’re networking in Birmingham, you are lucky enough to have a fantastic selection of networking clubs to choose from.
Getting the most out of a networking club
Joining a networking club isn’t just about finding a job, you can get so much more out of a networking event, on a personal level. Networking gives you the opportunity to meet and help others, and have deeper conversations with people to become more connected with them.
To help you get the most out of your networking club, here are some questions/prompts you can use:
- What roles have you had that have led you to where you are now?
- What is the most valuable part of your role?
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- Which of your previous roles have taught you the most?
- Which career changes have had the biggest impact on you?
- Where have you lived and travelled during your career?
Tips for being better at Birmingham networking
Networking doesn’t come easy to everyone some people can find it very daunting. But like with everything in life, practice makes perfect, the more you network, the better you will get at it. To help you to improve your Birmingham networking skills, here are some tips:
- Decide what you want to get from your networking clubs. What do you want to learn? And who would you like to connect with? Knowing exactly what you want can help to keep you driven and motivated.
- Build relationships with everyone. Some people attend Birmingham networking events with the view of just trying to network with the highest people there, but this is a big mistake. You should try to network with a variety of people, regardless of their position.
- Be clear and transparent. When you’re connecting with people, you need to be clear in what you’re saying and what you want. You also need to be transparent and honest in your communication.
- Appreciate what you have to offer. When we are talking to someone above us in their ranking, we can begin to feel subordinate, or inadequate. And this can impact our self-confidence. It’s important to remember the unique skills and knowledge you have and appreciate how this can benefit others.
- Be inclusive. As well as networking with people of different positions, you should also network with people from different backgrounds. To fully maximise your networking, you should try to be as inclusive as possible, and encourage others to do the same. Remember, we all have something to learn, and we also all have something to teach.