To be successful in both their business and social lives it is important for young adults to surround themselves with people whose dreams, desires and ambitions match their own. Etiquette Expert, Emma Dupont, explains why sixth-formers and graduates should start cultivating their network of contacts to give them the best career opportunities.
The old adage of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is still true today and despite the endless possibilities of reaching out via social media, building relationships face to face will always triumph over other avenues. Did you know that 60% of jobs occur in the ‘hidden job market’ where roles are not advertised but instead offered to someone who has been ‘recommended’?
Networking is not only for established business people; from a friend’s birthday party to a relative’s retirement gathering, most occasions present the opportunity for meeting new acquaintances, both young and old, and offer the chance for young adults to expand their circle of contacts.
Whether they are naturally an introvert or an extrovert, networking well will have a direct correlation with the opportunities presented to them and, whilst the thought may feel them with some apprehension, there is a simple process than can be applied to most situations.
Here is my seven-step approach for young adults to network with confidence:
- Find out who is going to attend before you go. If it is a formal event then there may be a list of attendees that you can ask for.
- Set yourself a goal of whom you wish to meet and how you think they can help you achieve your ambitions. If you do not know who is going to be there then simply intend on talking to one new person.
- A couple of hours before, spend some time visualising meeting new people and looking and feeling confident. This can have a profound effect on the outcome.
- Prepare a social and elevator pitch* so you are confident in those first few opening sentences.
- If the discussion is successful then be prepared to make the next move. Have some social cards printed with your contact details (these are similar to business cards and more professional than searching for some paper).
- Follow up the next day with an email saying how much you enjoyed talking with them and, if possible, send them something that is relevant to their interests i.e. a social media link or the contact details of someone. Always try to give something before asking for anything in return.
- Finally if you do wish to develop a relationship then suggest meeting for coffee and propose a date, time and venue. Remember, as you have issued the invitation then you need to pick up the bill.
They should try not to feel discouraged if there appears to be no synergy between them and the person they have just met. It is vital that they always conduct themselves well; that person may just know someone who can help them so they need to be careful not to burn any bridges early in their careers.
With over twenty years in the corporate world, Emma Dupont’s Young Adult’s Business Training Programme focuses on helping people to understand the importance of carrying themselves with confidence and authority, introducing themselves and others correctly along with interview etiquette and why this is so often overlooked. She will also ensure that their dining skills are at the correct level for a corporate environment and check that their social media channels are portraying the right image for the new stage of their life.
The course offers students the opportunity to be placed above their peers and installs skills and confidence that they will benefit from and can build on for the rest of their career.
* A brief persuasive few sentences that you use to spark interest in yourself and your studies/business interests