How is it October already?! It feels as though 2018 has flown by and my other half already has me looking at Christmas decorations on our weekends. You’re wondering why this is relevant to networking, but when the Christmas decorations appear on the shelves of the high-street stores it signals the beginning of a busy period of social events that are perfect for networking and building up your contacts.
It’s a commonly held view that networking is something that we should all be engaging with and there are plenty of tips out there about taking your first steps. But is it worth giving up your time?
The long and short of it is yes, and there’s no better time than now to take your first steps. Whilst the run up to Christmas means that there are plenty of options, particularly evening socials, there are a wide variety of networks to get involved with.
The increasingly popular way to network is now over breakfast – our lives are already busy with work, families, friends, social events, deadlines and The Bodyguard taking place after 10am. Breakfast seminars are an increasingly popular way for cities to deliver their development updates, consultants to deliver policy briefings and for us to build our professional networks. They are a great way to increase knowledge and make new contacts whilst also starting the day with a complimentary coffee and breakfast!
As well as the increased variety of times on offer for networking there is a wide variety of groups now organising events for you to attend. Notable organisations include Women in Planning who have had success outside of London with groups now across many major cities and towns; and YEP, a group focussed on bringing property professionals together for various events throughout the year. Their Manchester group were able to deliver a superb event with Gary Neville included as a speaker! I would also like to mention the great work of your local RTPI Events team as the annual black-tie dinners are just around the corner! Their webpages are regularly updated and events range from walking tours and informative seminars to after-work socials offering a free drink and a great mix of professionals.
To make the most of your time, I would suggest being bold and putting a mix of events in your diary for 2019. During my conversations with planners, many have benefited from meeting their future employers, the picking up of new knowledge about upcoming developments, new players in the market or even a useful tip or two from fellow planners on their recent work. There’s no right way to network, but there are enough options out there now to make it work for you. And, most crucially of all, enjoy it!
Jason Moore is principal consultant at recruitment consultants Blayze Group