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The Power of Networking

Philippa_-_dress_006On Tuesday 1 November 2016, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff generously hosted WTS London members for an interactive workshop on the power of networking with Philippa Constable.

Philippa, founder of the largest professional networking group in South West England, Women Mean Biz (WMB) and the recently launched We Mean Biz for everyone, is an expert networker, trainer and speaker who is passionate about sharing her knowledge to help women reach their full potential.

She kicked off the session by asking how many people look forward to networking. For many, the prospect of walking into a room full of strangers and speaking publicly can be intimidating and feel unnatural - according to one New York Times survey, it's feared more than death!

Philippa founded WMB in 2008 after experiencing challenges herself when starting to network to launch her first business. Her results are impressive with 80 per cent of her business achieved through networking. 

What is networking?

The dictionary definition is "Networking is cultivating people who can be helpful to one professionally." While some people may dislike the term 'cultivating', Philippa emphasised that networking is about nurturing long term, trusted relationships - it is not about just collecting contacts.

The benefits are manifold:

  • Share & compare

  • Empower & inspire

  • Give & receive support

  • Find solutions to problems

  • Encourage and be encouraged

  • Fill up your energy tank

  • Motivation

  • Career progression

  • Self belief

So how do we achieve networking success? Mindset is key! Get this right and you will get noticed. Points that you should consider are:

  • Who am I going to meet?

  • How? 

  • Where?

  • When?

  • What's holding you back?

  • Could you be doing more?

Networking_1Philippa recommends preparing yourself mentally beforehand, considering questions that you want to ask and remembering that you are not the only one who is nervous. The important question to keep in your mind as you enter the room is 'Who can I help here?. You will relieve the pressure on yourself and immediately feel more comfortable if you approach people with the attitude of trying to assist them rather than selling yourself.

She suggests arriving early as it's easier to initiate a conversation when there are only a few people in the room. However, if you want to break into a group, look for smaller groups of two or three who look open and ask if it's ok to join them.

Regular face to face networking will help accelerate your career and once you recognise its value, it's important to know that it will take time and to create that time. Philippa highlighted the importance of face to face, one-to-one follow up meetings to continue the relationship and understand what you can do for each other.

A phrase that stood out for the audience was "It's not who you know. It's who knows you." 

Being an effective networker means being visible so get out there, volunteer, get known, get connected!

An interactive session followed with attendees armed with Philippa's five key questions to power their networking.

Top 5 Questions

  1. What do you?

  2. How did you get started?

  3. What do you love about your role?

  4. What are the challenges you are facing right now in the business?

  5. What's a good connection or contact for you, that would make a real difference? 

A tip was to ask the questions one after another and consider that you may need a pad and a pen!

Key Takeaways 

  • Identify key people you want to build relationships with

  • Harness the power of the 1-2-1

  • Be curious, ask questions

  • Use social media such as LinkedIn to get connected 

  • Just do it! You need to turn up to network

  • Aim to have two or three meaningful conversations, you can't talk to everyone

  • Be open, be mindful of your own body language and look for open groups to join

  • Treat networking like a conversation

  • Be authentic, show that you care and be nurturing.This generates trust and builds long term, valuable relationships

The workshop was followed by drinks and canapés generously provided by WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Here's what some of our members had to say:

A brilliant event - I really learned lots of tips that I can put into practice straightaway.

I really enjoyed the event - Philippa's style is very engaging.

The networking session was really useful. This has made me feel so much more confident.

A really great event - I can't wait to try out Philippa's suggestions

Lovely venue and excellent food

Relaxed and friendly atmosphere

Philippe is a very enthusiastic speaker. I enjoyed her tips on how to network and believe they will be useful for future networking events.

Networking_4

WTS London would like to thank Philippa for sharing her knowledge and insights and WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff for their hospitality.

For more information on Women Mean Biz please go to www.womenmeanbiz.co.uk

 

WTS London has a great line up of events - please join us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news and events.

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