Love your career but hate networking? Discover the best kept secrets of feeling confident and impressing new people from our brilliant live event with We Are Black Journos. If walking into a room full of strangers makes you want to run for the hills, then follow these top tips to help you out. Even the word – networking – can make most peoples’ hearts sink. But it needs to be done to make our careers flourish – and even if we think we are good at it, we can improve.

“We connect with people, not jobs” – Isabel Sachs is the founder of ILikeNetworking. She is a creative producer, public speaker and podcast host with over 15 years of experience. It is important to remember that when we’re networking we are trying to connect with other people and form a connection with them instead of the job. Often people can forget this and become too robotic or methodical in the way they try to network. It is important to remember to form these connections first and then later you can talk about jobs and work positions.

“The maintenance of those networks are just as important” – Rebecca Evans is the Director of Impact and Communications at the behavioural insight research company, Revealing Reality. Rebecca spoke about the importance of maintaining your network as you go through your career. Even if it is a quick email or text, it is important to keep those connections strong because you never know when you might need them.

“Avoid empty words” – Try and not to waffle when you’re speaking with other people. Avoid saying empty phrases and make sure you’re intentional. It’s difficult to avoid small talk so try and get past that stage so you’re meeting can be useful. Nancy Aehle began her professional broadcasting journey as an intern at a media house in Ghana. She then navigated towards her current role as a multimedia journalist and presenter.

“If you’re meeting in a place where there will be alcohol, make sure you stay professional and don’t get too drunk” – You have to remember to maintain professionalism even when you are at networking drinks. Make sure you’re being responsible and not saying anything that you might later regret. If you don’t drink or don’t feel comfortable being in that environment, ask someone to meet you for a coffee or for lunch. Dipal Acharya is a London based journalist specialising in arts and culture coverage. She is currently the Arts and Entertainment Director of ES Magazine.

“What can you offer?” – Remember that networking is not always about taking. You have to be able to offer something back. Make sure that it is not one sided and if someone does pull a favour through for you, try and return it. It doesn’t have to be immediately, but in the near future. Make sure you ask for help, but be helpful too.

What are the things you should NOT do?

  • Don’t ask them to hire you on the spot
  • Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to approach you. Make sure you propel yourself into the room and conversation.
  • Make sure you’re authentic
  • Be aware of people schedule and times
  • Respect boundaries