How to network successfully, according to a career coach

Successful networking can really make a business flourish. We asked career coach and Director of 10Eighty, Liz Sebag-Montefiore, for her top tips when it comes to networking


“It comes back to asking the question, ‘what is networking?’ A network is a ‘social structure’ which facilitates communication between a group of people’. The most important skill for effective business networking is listening. In order to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, you first need to focus on how you can help the person you are listening to rather on how they can help you.

Here are the top ten practical tips on how to effectively network at an event.

1. First impressions and appearances count
Make sure your body language is open and you maintain eye contact.

2. Give a firm handshake
Again, eye contact is key.

3. Look at badges
Get to know everyone’s names and make a note for later conversations.

4. Make sure you work the room
Join small open groups – they will be welcoming. Beware of groups that appear closed and groups of over four people unless there are people in there you already know.

5. Move in on potential contacts
Work hard at introducing yourself to the person people you’re targeting.

6. Keep moving on to new people
Plan to talk to three new people and gain three pieces of information at every turn.

7. Be prepared
Prepare a short elevator pitch, listen carefully and show interest.

8. Ask open questions
It’s important to ask the right questions and keep the conversation flowing.

9. Always do what you said you would do
Follow up with people you met to build credibility and a good reputation.

10. Be happy and smile
A smile can go along way when it comes to networking. Make sure your energy is warm and approachable.


Hairdresser Ashleigh Hodges agrees that networking is super important for business and that being authentic is key. “To be genuine is the key lesson. You can only ever be yourself so don’t try during a networking situation be anything but you,” she says. 

“People will respect that and remember you for your own personal sparkle. Secondly have some key things you want to talk about, the main question that gets asked is ‘what have you been doing recently’ so have some points you can instantly reply with that you’re proud of. Never feel ashamed of boasting, which is something us women worry about.”

Ashleigh also highlights the importance of have an online networking presence too. “Have an online presence on LinkedIn. It’s the social media platform of choice for many entrepreneurs and business owners. You can transform your LinkedIn summary into a tool that can effectively make new connections and represent your business.” 


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