Julia Hobsbawm has recently been appointed as a visiting professor in networking at Cass Business School, at City University, London, and runs networking club ‘Editorial Intelligence’. She has been dubbed the ‘networking queen’ and the first ‘professor of schmooze’, and now gives her take on the importance of networking.
Hobsbawn believes that effective networking will make the difference “between a highly skilled worker and an average worker“, and encourages people to be more productive.
Through her work Julia has found that many business-people feel isolated and that the old style of large-scale networking, which usually involves walking into a room and standing in the corner, does nothing to dispel this feeling.
Her company, Editorial Intelligence, believes that the best networking occurs in a relaxed environment, like the mid-week dinner party which they host. The idea behind this is that individuals can establish a connection, and a sense of trust, with a fellow business-person.
Renaissance agree with this line of thinking and host regular breakfast meetings on the second Thursday of each month, and lunch meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month. All local businesses are invited to attend, and meet like-minded professionals. Our next lunch is on 22nd March, and we look forward to seeing you there!
1. Choose face-to-face over Facebook. The best connections are made in person.
2. Eye contact matters. It is the easiest way to find out if you trust and like someone. Never look over their shoulder at someone else.
3. Ask “How are you?” not “Who are you?” We put far too much store on job titles and far too little on whether people like the same things as you do.
4. Be curious. The faster you can connect with someone, the sooner you will exchange valuable information with each other.
5. Network for the long term. You don’t have to “succeed” at networking, you just have to see where it leads.
6. De-clutter your contacts book. Forget being competitive with how many “friends” or “followers” you have. Only connect with people who interest, amuse, or inspire you.
7. Most networking should never take place in a party or conference environment. Rethink your definition of networking to include much smaller, curated gatherings where the exchange of ideas is paramount.
8. And for the shy … Shyness in networking is actually the norm. The antidote is to make eye contact and wait for someone to break the cycle and begin a conversation.