Networking: What’s the point?
‘Networking’ has always made me feel little bit nauseous. Having to splash out on a nice suit, head off to a city-central venue to befriend potential ‘key-holders’ to your career, it’s always made me feel uneasy.
Yet, even though the prospect still makes me a feel a little nervous I’ve learnt to take networking from a completely different perspective. I’ve learnt that it is doesn’t have to be such a morbid experience and you can enjoy the time you spend talking to professionals from a variety of industries by sharing thoughts and ideas with them.
From working in professional services throughout the majority of my university career I’ve developed an ability to talk very confidently to people – Something you really need if you want to be a lawyer, and something not everyone is able to do. I believe my confidence really grew as I volunteered at the Chamber of Commerce in Brighton. By working on numerous social events throughout the year and learning about the business community in Brighton and around Sussex I found myself beginning to develop professional relationships with people, and because of my understanding of local business I am able to have really interesting conversations with local professionals.
Now many students shy away from networking for several reasons but one of them shouldn’t be because it is seen to be a chore. Students should take it as an opportunity to meet new and interesting people, and to broaden their understanding of working life. There’s no need to labour over the kind of questions to ask and topics to discuss at the next event – just take it as it comes. After all, these people you’ll be meeting may have been at work all day and most likely won’t want to talk about work, but will want to know more about you and pick your brain for your thoughts on current issues.
The point of networking isn’t to talk business with people. To me it is about building relationships with people, people with great minds and skills. By building professional relationships and establishing a fine network of contacts you’ll find the opportunities will begin to appear because of how open minded you are and the correct attitude you have.
Final year LLB with Business