It’s one of those things that in theory is a great idea. In practice is a somewhat awkward mix of nervous twitching and asking generic questions repeatedly to a room of people. Whilst hoping that you don’t get asked a question that you are massively under prepared to answer.
But, I am new to a city, a job and a sector. Therefore I think it’s pretty worthwhile to go through it and hope I survive.
Plus, as a fundraiser, I will meet new people all the time and I figured this is a really good way to practice among people that are in a similar situation.
So, I have gone to two networking events in two days and appear to have come out the other end fairly unscathed.
One with the FIND Network, a network of women working in the International Development sector. It also gave me an excuse to go play in House of Commons.
The other was an Institute of Fundraising ‘First Thursday’s’ event with a speaker about major donor fundraising, which was massively beneficial for my job.
This taught me that the ones that include a talk really help break the ice.
I have also learnt that:
- I need to learn more about other parts of the development sector, even just the organisations based in London.
- I could definitely still benefit from learning more about my organisation.
- I should go to more of these events to get used to the questions and working out what forms of small talk get the best responses.
All these things I kind of knew already but it’s good to have the reassurance.
If anyone can shed some light on good networking skills, conversation topics and ways to act like you have confidence when perhaps you really don’t – that would be great.
If my dad’s unbelievable ability to network could pass on to me, just a tiny bit more, that would also be fabulous!