November 23, 2016, by Words on Words
Networking: No Longer a Nightmare
This blog post was written by Emily Harbottle, a second-year English student.
The idea of networking in the conventional sense has always been something that panics me slightly, because the few times I’ve had to do it, it’s been a rather painful experience, and one I’m always glad to finish. You might ask why, then, when the English Placements Provider sent through a role in Catena Network, a (yep you guessed it) networking company, I went for it. Having got through the interview, and offered the placement, my next hurdle was to attend a networking event (*gulp*). Contrary to my fears, the event was very different from what I expected. Claire, the owner of the business, places a lot of emphasis on networking being a relaxed yet advantageous experience. She sits everyone on tables with people they’ve expressed a desire to meet. Instead of a name badge, everyone has a ‘would like to meet’ piece of paper, to help them meet the people they’d like to. As an intern, I didn’t expect anyone to be that interested in me, however to my pleasant surprise (and with a bit of guts on my behalf) I met and spoke to many people there, all of whom were willing to chat about their careers, how they got into their various roles, and to offer me advice for the future. I also acquired several business cards which will hopefully come in useful soon. Besides all this, the food on offer was pretty delicious, and, as a poor, often hungry student, the lure of free food was all too tempting and a definite bonus!
I asked several guests at the networking event what and why it is they like going to these events. Their response, quite overwhelmingly, was that networking is ‘invaluable’ as it helps you be visible, accessible, and contactable. Many people commented that the charm of a good networking event is that it isn’t as ruthless as some can be, where people spend 30 seconds speaking to people, hand over their business card, and move on. As Richard Baker, the guest speaker, commented, it’s all to do with our ears – we can get so much out of people by simply listening. The mix of people from different companies, and the relaxed way that the event was run is, in my opinion, a much nicer way to network, and certainly helped to assuage my fear of it in general. It’s also definitely worth it for the scones!
[Featured image (cropped) by Ghozt Tramp [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Second image by Takeaway (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]