If you’re at the start of your career (or if you’re in the middle or towards the end to be fair!) and you want to start networking, approaching the subject with your boss can be difficult.
A lot of organisation openly encourage their teams to attend events, but if you’re not sure what your employers’ stance on the subject is here’s some top tips for approaching the topic…
Speak to your manager, supervisor or boss (depending on how your organisation works) and ask what the policy is for people attending networking events. Showing an interest in networking is a really positive thing – it shows your employer you’re being proactive, taking initiative, and that you’re looking for ways to develop yourself both personally and professionally.
Some networking events come with a cost, either annual membership fees or individual tickets. You’re also potentially going to be spending additional money on things like petrol, parking and other expenses (coffee!), so it’s important to ask what the policy is for these additional costs. Claiming back expenses differs between organisations, so it’s important to understand your rules before you begin.
As well as additional costs you’re potentially going to be networking outside your usual working hours, so talking to your employer about this from the beginning can help prevent any issues or sense of resentment in the future. In the same breath you also want to make sure your employer is happy for you network within your usual working day – again, just asking the questions at the beginning helps ensure you’re all on the same page
Now it’s time to start looking at which events you’re going to attend – speaking to your employer and your colleagues about their experiences with local networking events can help point you in the right direction. When you’re first getting started you might event want to buddy-up with a couple of colleagues and go together – just remember to talk to other people at the event and not just each other!
Finally, remember how much value you’re adding to not just yourself but your organisation by growing your network. You’re representing your business, promoting them, tapping into valuable new knowledge, and connecting with potential customers – what’s not to love?! By networking you’re also developing your social and personal skills, skills that you bring back into the business and allow you to more effectively build relationships with colleagues internally too. It’s a win win!
So if you’re considering taking your first steps into the networking work speak to your employer, put yourself out there, and remember how much value you’re adding.
If you and your team would benefit from some networking training / workshops to give you the tools and networking to network effectively, check out the NetKno-How page or get in touch at [email protected] – we’d love to help! 💚