On Thursday 15th November, I attended the first of many LinkedIn Local Youth events, based in Central London at Pearson College London. It was a fantastic event run by Andrew and Alexandra, networking experts in their fields. There was a real mix of individuals from vast backgrounds: some were students or graduates, others were entrepreneurs or experts in their field. It was a great way to converse with people who you might not come across on a day-to-day basis.
The event began with Andrew and Alex introducing themselves and how the original #LinkedInLocal went viral and is now being held in 600 cities in 80 countries worldwide!
The experts introduced us to the three trickiest parts of networking that people are most worried about:
- Starting a conversation
- Maintaining a conversation and adding value
- Closing a conversation
Starting a conversation can be really hard, particularly in an unconventional setting whereby people are strangers to you. Maintaining a conversation and adding value to someone else’s life can be a barrier as you may think: “In what possible way could I add value to this person?” In these situations, the best thing to do is introduce someone to them. Perhaps you spoke to someone earlier who is Head of Investment Banking at Natwest and you are now stood with a graduate interested in a career in Finance – introduce them! You could add value to both professionals. Closing a conversation can be the most awkward part as you don’t want to come across as impolite and throw your good impression down the drain. So what can you do? Andrew recommended that you remain polite and suggest that you both network with others; you could introduce them to someone else; or, you could just say something along the lines of: “Pleasure to meet you.”
The event was very interactive and encouraged us to network in a way that built up the skills we were learning gradually to assist us in building the connections. It finished with drinks and pizza, a more casual way to network!
There are some more events coming up and I would strongly recommend to anyone who has never been to a networking event to attend.
For more infomation about Pearson College London, visit the website.