I’m currently looking outside of my office into the grey grey skies of London. Why must it be so grey? It’s nearly the end of June already and the longest day of the year has passed. That can only mean one thing – WINTER IS COMING! (Nooo!). We haven’t even had a summer yet! I refuse to let those nice couple of days that happened in May and June be it! We need more sunshine – it’s Wimbledon next week!
Anyhow, I hope everyone is well. My topic for this blog post is going to be around networking and events. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s because I attended my first networking event at North Highland.
Let me rewind. Last week, PMI (Project Management Institute) came to ToHo to host their London careers event. Our President, Charles Vivian, gave a session on how the project management market has changed in the last 5 years, what the PPM market looks like and how this affects the future of PPM. Following that, Amy O’Rafferty, our Talent Acquisition Manager, gave a session on how to make you and your CV stand out in the PPM field. Finally, there was an update by Joanna Newman, Director of Professional Development at PMI, on strategies to develop your PPM skills.
I found the evening super informative and it was great to hear how my colleagues see the future of PPM and to get some great tips. The rest of the evening was a networking session and, I don’t know how you feel about networking, but it scares me! I’m fine if people come up to me and talk, but if I need to approach people, I get nervous. I mean – what do I say? Do I make small talk? Do I talk about the weather? I went for the safe option – how did they find the event? That’s all it took. A deep breath and one plunge later, I was deep into conversation with a lady, who introduced me to someone looking for a potential job. Then the miracle happened, people were coming to me! I barely had to move, I got talking and people were interested, so they jumped in. Almost an hour later (it really didn’t feel that long), I glanced over to Amy who was completely swamped with people surrounding her. I thought I’d go over to try and even out the ratio of North Highland people to Attendees and by the time we finished for the evening – we actually got kicked out – I was absolutely buzzing! People were interested in what I had to say. They were interested in the work I was doing and that made me feel a little proud inside.
The icing on the cake was the next morning. I had an email through my Linkedin account from one of the attendees I had spoken to, thanking me for the advice I had given her.
This was probably my first networking event where I felt so comfortable (albeit after a few moments of wondering around the office thinking of who to approach and what to say). I’m looking forward to the next one already, hoping it will be as successful as, or more successful, than the last one.
What did I learn? Networking is probably the most important skill to have. It’s more about who you know, than what you know. Attending events like this broadens your professional circle and I think that’s very important, especially for young professionals who are building their careers. It doesn’t take much, go on – take the plunge! I’m glad I did.
Have a great week!