How to network …the right way!
Have you ever imagined walking into a crowded room full of intimidating strangers with a mission to meet new people and build a network? Sound terrifying? It certainly does to me! Networking events can be hard and can create panic in the most confident of us! At our event last week we talked about one common concern with such networking situations – “How do I walk up to someone I don’t know at an event and start talking?”
Approximately 20 people attended this event on Zoom spearheaded by two amazing professional coach and trainers – Catharina Biver, Co-Founder and MD at Sparx Factory and her sister Lottie Skuthe-Cook from Grey Panther Management Ltd – who showed us that networking is not all that difficult, if you of course prepare for it! In order to make the event informative, interactive and exciting, the event was divided into two parts, the first was dedicated to addressing the challenges one faces while networking while the second was a virtual treasure hunt!
The speakers started the presentation by encouraging us to share our definition and perception of networking anonymously with the help of ‘Slido’, an online interactive polling tool before proceeding to highlight the dictionary definition.
It was then time to address the elephant in the room – potential barriers to networking.
To encourage discussion and conversation on this important topic, we were divided into small breakout rooms. How to break the ice,, sound more relevant , language barriers were some key concerns that were discussed in the different breakout rooms.
Skuthe-Cook reassured us that these were common concerns felt by many but can be easily overcome with a little bit of homework and preparation. If you know exactly why you are going to a networking event and what you want to achieve out of the event, you are far less likely to be stunned by nervousness! She also explained that it is important to align these to aspects with our core values in order to be real and genuine. She encouraged us to on what our key USP is and how they would add value to the event.
She talked about the importance of finding a common ground with people in order to facilitate an engaging conversation and asked us not to shy away from asking open ended questions such as ‘What, What When How Where and Who”. She also stressed on the importance of being the first one to share contact details and not leaving the room with having done so.
What’s interesting is, as pointed out by Catharina, that contact details are only a second away with LinkedIn which enables one to just scan QR codes for contact details. This is particularly useful in a country like Luxembourg which is a melting pot of people from different countries. We also learnt that sharing contact details is important, it is not enough – follow up is an important component of networking.
After this super fun session and a couple of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, we were again divided into groups to introduce ourselves and our core values, and to share something unique about ourselves. The purpose of this breakout room was to reflect on the learning and encourage each other to try what we learnt.
The second part of the session was an engaging virtual treasure hunt guided by Catharina, Charlotta Tornelling and Lottie. This activity was carried out in 7 breakout rooms. Initially, the teams were given 5 mins each to appoint a team leader in order to coordinate with the guides for clues. The participants were encouraged to find the starting point with the help of coordinates on Google Maps. Each successful answer was followed by a new clue in order to find our way virtually around Luxembourg and reach their final destination. The winning TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) won free coaching sessions with Catharina and Lottie.
This session was an exhilarating experience jam packed with information which would definitely make any future networking event a fun experience rather than torture! This event was the perfect end before the summer break! We wish you a super summer and hope you can use some of these awesome tips to boost your confidence at events. Stay tuned for the next event!
– blog post by member Monisha Rao… freelance writer, CELTA certified trainer and member of our events team