CPD tips: How to improve your networking skills

CPD tips: How to improve your networking skills

18 Jan 2023

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Anyone who has achieved success in their career has been surrounded and guided by a network of talented and insightful people along the way. Who you surround yourself with and how actively you seek advice and guidance from others in your career can have a huge impact on your career development. From improving your confidence to opening up career opportunities and receiving direct career advice, the benefits of networking are huge. Improving your networking skills is a great way to help advance your career trajectory, especially for those at the start of their career journey.

What are networking skills?

Networking is the act of building professional relationships. The key word here is ‘relationship.’ What’s required for networking is the same as what’s required to build any relationship: good communication, putting time into building the relationship and giving to the relationship as much as you’re getting out.

What’s perhaps different about networking, however, is that you’re likely to have a specific professional goal in mind. As such, there are ways to approach networking in a more strategic and direct way. Understanding your goals and how you can use networking to aid you in your career is just as important as putting in the work to build professional relationships.

5 ways to improve your networking skills

1. Listen

When meeting other professionals in person, whether at work, at an event or outside a professional setting, listening skills are of the utmost importance. Listening actively is key to being able to show you are engaged in the conversation, make insightful comments, and ask good questions. If you can do these things, you have a very good chance of making a good impression and laying the foundation for a potential strong professional relationship.

2. Aim to make friends, not contacts

Inauthenticity is not your friend when it comes to networking. If you try to present yourself as something you’re not or present yourself as only connecting for your self-interest, you’ll likely only find unfruitful, superficial, transactional business relationships. To build rich relationships that offer guidance, support and long-term value to your professional life, you need to be yourself and show that you’re just as interested in giving all you have to offer to the relationship.

Best ways to improve your networking skills

3. Put yourself out there

Whether it’s firing off a LinkedIn message, dropping someone an email to follow up on a conversation or investing time in attending meet-ups or networking events, the best way to improve your networking skills is to put yourself out there more often, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Over time you’ll improve your patter, and you’ll quickly learn the best ways to engage peers and making connections will become much more natural.

4. Be targeted with your networking

Think about where you want to be and who is best placed to potentially help you realise that. Is there someone in your organisation that would be a great mentor or guide for you? Who outside your organisation do you admire? Understanding the landscape of talented people who could offer you the type of advice and opportunities you want is essential.

Once you understand who would be a great addition to your network, start reaching out. If you have mutual connections, request introductions. Try not to be intimidated by level or seniority; you’d be surprised how open many senior leaders are in offering advice or being potential mentors. Those who are at the top of the game now were all once in your position, and many of them understand the need to pay it forward.

5. Take a networking CPD course

If you want to take your networking to a whole new level, a dedicated CPD course aimed at developing the skills necessary is a great option for professionals, no matter where you are in your career. Within our CPD Courses Catalogue, we host numerous courses on behalf of our members aimed at helping you to network more effectively.

We hope this article was helpful. If you are looking to become a CPD Provider, please contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail. Alternatively, if you are looking to record your CPD, please go to the myCPD Portal where you can manage, track and log your learning in one simple place.

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