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HomeBlog General ‘I’m a people person’: How do you network?

‘I’m a people person’: How do you network?

2nd May 2013

No longer does it cut the mustard to say ‘I’m a People’s Person’ at interview in response to a question designed to fish for examples to demonstrate your networking capability. Nor does having 500+ connections on linked in really prove that you are an effective networker. So, what does? How can you analyse how and where you network most effectively and how do you go about turning a telephone or face-to-face interaction into a valuable network opportunity?

Business networking can be done practically anywhere where you come across people in your business sector. There are both “hard” and “soft” networking groups. The former refers to members of a real or virtual ‘group’ who have attended or signed up for the specific purpose of networking with like-minded individuals – they are open to being contacted and/or sharing information for mutual gain. ‘Soft’ contacts are groups of people where the possibility of business networking exists but with no guarantees that a benefit will be gained or worthwhile information shared e.g.; trade association events, interest groups, family and friends, professional institutes, societies or virtual internet groups such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. It is your task therefore, to probe and explore how best to approach and develop networking opportunities within “soft” groups.

So where does all this networking happen?

Aside from those forums already mentioned; there are numerous situations where you can network effectively:

Trade Conferences / Symposia / Local

Attended by like-minded individuals / much common ground. Lunch / coffee breaks are an ideal time to make introductions, swap business cards and probe for valuable info.


Similarly, exhibitions are full of business people with a common interest related to a specific field-of interest. Obviously gauging if, when and how to canvass the exhibitors is the hardest part, but there are plenty of off-stand opportunities to meet people and network.

Training courses

An ideal opportunity to informally network with delegates brought together to work in teams to achieve a training goal. Can be an intensive ‘bonding’ experience, delegates ‘open up’ and shared information may reveal mutually beneficial business opportunities, outside of the training environment.

Business networking websites

Linkedin.com et al. Massive database of names accessed via the web, that can be useful for business gain. Connecting from ‘cold’ however, is only the first step in the networking process. The key is building from this into a more meaningful business relationship.

Website forums

Website forums exist for every subject you can think of. Each offers a networking opportunity for the subject matter concerned.

Professional body websites

A virtual ‘exhibition’ – lots of companies and individuals with shared business interest(s). As with LinkedIn; web connections need developing outside of the web to be meaningful.

Mobile communications applications

I.e. Twitter can be used for business as well as social ends IF approached in a dedicated and informed way; otherwise can be a time-trap eating into valuable work-hours for little or no gain.

Public meetings

E.g. local planning consultations which affect commerce and therefore attract business people. Break-times offer great opportunity to network.

Social events

Business people inviting other business people they already share some sort of connection with to further that relationship. Sporting events for example; mixing sport with business in the spirit of fun and camaraderie.

Pubs Lots of business has been done in pubs. Just be mindful that alcohol doesn’t scupper your business objectives!


Jane provides Division Support for all our consultants in Pharmaceutical, Scientific, Medical Devices, Animal Health and Dental recruitment. Whether you’re looking to explore your career options or expand your team contact Jane now to discuss your recruitment aspirations.


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