Networking can be a key part of success in the financial industry. It’s important to network strategically and ensure you’re making a good impression every time you meet someone new. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Ice breakers are a great way to start the conversation when networking with people you don’t know very well. Come up with some open-ended questions ahead of time like “What do you like best about working in finance?” or “What would be your ideal job?” These types of questions can help get conversations flowing and increase comfort levels among those involved in the discussion. Plus, answering these types of questions will help potential contacts gain a better understanding of who you are and what value you could bring to their organization.
When networking at an event, it’s important to start off on the right foot. Talk about what brought you together — the event itself! Ask someone if they like the venue, find out what brought them there, or chat about an interesting topic that the speaker mentioned. Let the event serve as a common interest between you and the person you’d like to talk to.
Starting a conversation can be intimidating, especially if you’re trying to think of what to talk about on the spot. To avoid this situation, come prepared with some stories or experiences related to your field so you can share them when appropriate.
For example, if you recently had a successful business transaction that went particularly smoothly due to excellent teamwork, tell them! This will give the other person insight into your competencies and accomplishments while also giving you something interesting to talk about.
Alternatively, you could start the conversation by sharing a story from your personal life – something your kids did, for example. This could lead into a bigger conversation where your end-goal is to talk business.
Often overlooked, listening is one of the most important aspects of networking. People want to feel heard and understood — not just talked at — so make sure to focus on actively listening whenever possible instead of formulating your response while they’re speaking. Not only will this show respect but it will demonstrate your ability to think critically rather than relying solely on memorized responses and talking points. Moreover, by really listening, you can learn more about the other person which could result in increased trust between both parties as well as additional opportunities down the road!
Networking is essential for success in many industries — especially finance. At its core, networking isn’t just about making business connections — it’s also about building and fostering relationships. And, when done properly, networking can be an incredibly powerful tool for any finance professional looking to get ahead in their career.
Looking for industry-relevant topics to bring to your conversations? Check out our latest Accounting and Finance Employment Report.