Let's talk networking

It’s the reason behind packed exhibition spaces, train journeys across the country and even our tweaking of online profile photos: networking.

Whether it’s online or offline, I often find myself at networking events in conversations away from deals and products. But, interestingly, not many people talk about the business impact these kind of events can have. Here, I attempt a commercial finance first and share those discussions.


The big expos – the industry’s World Cup – luckily, they come around more often than every four years (or quadrennially, I had to look that one up). Among the expensive stands, pamphlets and suits, conversations often stray from product offerings and latest trends to the convenience of having so many people from the industry under one roof. 

Interesting for me is hearing about how far people will travel to attend these events and the benefits of attending. I remember one broker telling me that they would struggle to have the same number of conversations in a normal working week as they would in one morning at an expo. Diaries are cleared and train tickets bought in advance for good reason. 

Informal drinks

If the expos are our World Cup, the more frequent, informal charity events of the networking calendar could be our Champions League fixtures. Away nights, meetings with big names that can start off tentative, yet turn into free-flowing occasions. 

I’ve always enjoyed knowing that we can talk business in an informal setting and often to the benefit of a good cause. Like the big expos, everyone’s made time for each other and can be found under one roof. Brokers often tell me how pleased they are to get to know the personalities behind products. 

One broker even said that his personal relationships have often made the difference in choosing who to collaborate with. He described the informal drinks in his calendar as the perfect setting to build that rapport. 

Social media

We all know by now that networking isn’t necessarily an offline affair. My LinkedIn profile may not be as important as my portfolio, but the former definitely impacts on the latter. The same seems to be true with the brokers I meet. It seems a completed deal isn’t quite completed until we’ve thanked each other on social media these days. 

Moreover, brokers have told me how they’ve learnt of a new product through social media before learning about it elsewhere. But the power of your online presence doesn’t end there. Often I’ll learn that a lender or another broker is attending an event through their social media, whereas newsletters can go unread. With easy access to your audience, your activity online can really support your offline networking efforts. 

Our professional relationships built and maintained through networking greatly improve our working lives, and in a number of ways. I hope this piece opens up the conversation on what networking means to you. Maybe let me know at the next networking event?

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