If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

African proverb

Welcome, to the Face to Face Networking workspace.

Networking is a very important skill for everyone. Everyone who needs to find new clients, get a new job, get new skills, keep up to date with their industry/research/technology. In recent times, it has become more standard practice that people have an online presence, but that shouldn’t fool you – face to face networking is also very effective, and complementary to online networking.

In my work, I have to network. I’m a kind of matchmaker – I help academics and researchers work as consultants for companies. That means building some extensive networks, and it is very daunting.

I start off my hunt for the right people online, usually with a web search, but often also on sites like LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and company websites. However, once I have someone in my sights, I arrange a meeting. Meeting face to face allows us to function as the social animals we are, and establishes a trust and a relationship that is very hard to do solely online. Creativity is much easier to foster in person, and bouncing ideas around in a small group is infinitely more productive and satisfying face to face than in group chats. So much of our communication is still non verbal – speaking to someone face to face can do the work of many hours of written engagement in the space of minutes.

In this session, we will focus on how to engage in face to face networking events, in particular:

  • Preparation and organisation prior to a networking opportunity
  • Body Language
  • Opening gambits
  • Asking questions
  • Talking about yourself
  • Closing/next steps
  • Practice networking session – how it will work, and how o make the most of it

You will find a series of activities in the following blog posts. These will give you the skills we will be practicing and evaluating at the event on 20 February. Please work through the posts in sequential order from 1 – 12 and submit your responses in the comments.

Only people who have a password can view this blog – and those people are the others who have enrolled on this course, a maximum of 30. Please adhere to the principals of netiquette to stay polite and stay focused! I as your facilitator will respond to your comments too and act as moderator, but please do get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about the blog and comments forum.

You’ll need one to two hours and internet access to complete the tasks.

You will also be required to download a networking app called Confbuzz, it will only take 5 to 10 minutes to set up, and will give you an insight into how you can use these kinds of tools to help you plan your face to face networking strategically. This is next generation networking – enhanced by technology, but rooted in good old fashioned face to face contact. It’s the best of both worlds…?