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Meaningful Networking with Girl Geek Scotland

Written by Rhona Kennedy - Senior Consultant - Permanent Software Development
18/03/19 - 09:20

Meaningful Networking with Girl Geek Scotland

 

Networking is a “necessary evil” in business. It’s something that a lot of people dread, or think they’re not good at, and so put off. It’s also a tremendously valuable skill to have in your back pocket – not just in the early stages of your career, or when you’re actively job-hunting – and something which can be improved through practice!

 

On Wednesday evening, Girl Geek Scotland hosted a workshop focused on meaningful networking – with our most excellent hosts/top pizza pickers, Scott Logic (https://www.scottlogic.com/). It was so encouraging to see a full house and lots of chat going on before the official “networking” portion of the evening had even started!

 

Meaningful networking isn’t about chucking your business card about indiscriminately or aiming to have as many LinkedIn connections as possible, but it is about building beneficial connections and helping each other out!

 

After a brilliant intro to the evening (and some pizza/refreshments – pizza will be a recurring theme in this post), from Sam Rhynas from Girl Geek Scotland’s leadership team, Marjan van de Weg kicked us off with her top networking tips. Having changed careers (and realised that her old network couldn’t help with her new career), she certainly knows a thing or two about networking and had some really helpful tips.

 

Top networking tips:

  • Use the 80/20 rule – you should be listening 80% of the time.
  • Be kind. If you see someone who’s not being included, invite them in. If someone looks nervous or uncomfortable, chat to them, introduce yourself, or even just give them a smile.
  • Don’t be intimidated – everyone dreads these events!
  • Remember to prepare your elevator pitch – it doesn’t need to be “salesy” but being able to sum up who you are and what you do in a couple of sentences is handy.

 

Another really important area which Marjan had some brilliant advice on – was following up on networking. Some dos and don’ts:

 

Do:

  • Follow up fairly quickly (within a week) of meeting someone.
  • Add them on LinkedIn (with a personalised message, of course).
  • If someone gave you some valuable advice or a contact, let them know what you did and how you got on (even if it didn’t work – everyone loves feedback!).
  • Do your research and be clear about why you’re getting in touch.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Add in a “call to action” – something like “when are you free next week to meet for a coffee (my treat!) and we can chat more about your Development team and upcoming roles?”
  • Send a reminder/follow-up 10-14 days later if you don’t get a response.

 

Don’t forget to personalise your correspondence – nobody likes to receive a generic email – a bit of extra effort will always pay off!

 

We then broke out into smaller groups to further discuss our specific challenges in networking and there were some interesting themes which came out of those discussions; feeling intimidated by “men in suits”, finding it hard to break into groups when conversation is flowing, finding it tricky to hone an “elevator pitch”. So, it seems like most folk struggle with some of the same things when it comes to networking!

 

*Upcoming Girl Geek workshops*

 

Girl Geek Scotland are running a series of workshops over the next few months – please come along. I can guarantee that the topics are useful but also that the workshops will be fun and friendly!

CV writing – 3rd April

Your Online Self – 8th May

Getting to Know You – date TBC

 

The next event is a workshop on CV writing; we’ll have a panel of hiring managers/CV reviewers giving their advice on how to write a winning CV – including yours truly (there will be other experts there so you don’t have to take my word for it!). If you want some CV tips in the meantime, please check out my previous blog on the very same topic (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crafting-perfect-cv-jobs-tech-rhona-kennedy/)

 

What are your top tips for networking? What advice/pearls of wisdom would you like to share?