A tale of two cities – and one network

Last week a friend here in Melbourne asked if I knew anyone who had worked in Finance in Toronto, which is my home town, although I have been living in Australia for over 20 years.

He was looking to hire someone for their growing business in Toronto and would be in town the next week.  So I sent off 3-4 texts to a few former work colleagues, and my BFF from Grade 6.  She came back and said her sister, who had been a senior finance executive and had taken some time off to raise her family was thinking about going back to work. Half an hour later, my friend from Australia had connected with a potential candidate in Toronto and organized a meeting. The meeting went well on both sides and there may be a job offer coming. This is a great example of the power of the network. You never know where the opportunities may come from, so it is important to network broadly, and let people know what you are looking for so when asked for recommendations they think of you.

Sandy,
Career Money Life Founder

 

How I learnt to love networking – and you can too!

The article below by Alexandra Cann from The Age provides some great insights on how to network effectively. Enjoy.

There are few things I loathe more than networking events. To be honest, I can’t even believe they’re still held because my view is far from unique. I don’t know anyone who likes them.

But even though these events might be a waste of time, networking is an essential business skill. I find the best way to make connections is through existing ones. Two recent examples come to mind.

Anne has been at home for some years raising her kids and now wants to go back to work. But she’s lacking confidence having been out of the mire for a while and has been unsure about where to start looking for work.

She has previously worked in real estate and it would make sense for her to go back into this area. She also has some ideas about starting a business.

Anne is very fortunate that Barry, one of her friends, owns an extremely successful international property company and has offered her an opportunity. While it’s not quite right, Barry is more than happy to open his contact book for Anne to help her find something that will suit. That’s good quality networking.

In another example, I recently went to a birthday lunch and sat next to someone I had written about before but not met in person. It was a happy coincidence and I was able to hear all about her latest venture. When the time is right, I’ll get the exclusive story. This for me is what constitutes good networking.

Freelance art director Chris Eichberger also has an intriguing approach to networking.

“A friend dragged me along to my first networking dinner. It was awful – a room full of desperadoes trying to sell to each other. I’ve not done a networking date like that again,” he says.

Instead, Eichberger has volunteered as part of his network building.

“I’ve been a committee member for two clubs, among other things. One is an industry club, for which I’ve judged the awards for the last three years. That’s the best part of being on the committee. I conduct a panel of judges for a weekend and review the best work from my industry, followed by a dinner.”

His other committee is a social network that promotes science. Eichberger helps organise lectures and conferences for the group.

“Meeting industry leaders and mixing with peers that have shared interests has given me so much more value and business leads than a room full of pushy sales people ever could,” he says.

Networking is a necessary evil if you’re in business.

Raz Chorev, who has published The Introvert’s Guide to Networking, has more reason than most to be intimidated by networking. It’s particularly challenging approaching a group of complete strangers in a business context when you’re an immigrant, English isn’t your mother tongue and small talk is difficult.

Being able to break the ice is almost impossible when you can’t always understand the often-broad Australian accent, you’re just learning about local current affairs and you’re still trying to work out which sports teams are doing well and which aren’t.

So here are three of Chorev’s top tips for conquering intimidating networking events:

  1. Prepare: write down what you want to get out of the event and have questions ready to ask interesting strangers.
  2. Buddy up: having support can help deal with social anxiety – but don’t just stick together, talk to others as well.
  3. Arrive early: this avoids the sense of dread you can feel if you’re late and are confronted with a heaving mass of the semi-inebriated and have to work out how to spark up a conversation when everyone already appears to be engrossed in each other.

Networking is a necessary evil if you’re in business. But it doesn’t have to be the worst part of your job if you’re smart and start with the people you already know. Who knows who you could meet if you put your mind to it?

This article is written by Alexandra Cain. You can view the original article here. 

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