Getting the most out of our network

We often find we get into the routine of our work and sometimes forget to look too far outside for advice and ideas. Trudy Lewis one of the committee members shares with us her thoughts on networking and why pushing yourself to get out and network is good for you. Over to Trudy:

 

For most of my career I worked in-house, which was great, but didn’t allow much time or motivation to get involved in industry activities. This was probably my own fault as I get really focused on what I’m working on and think of hardly anything else. I spent very little time getting out and about, meeting peers, attending conferences and networking, and so wasn’t exposed to all the great things happening in internal communication.Trudy Lewis

I’d been a member of CIPR for a long time, but again had done very little with it. Then I joined CIPR Inside and later became a committee member and everything changed. I found that there were many opportunities to catch up with others in the industry. I also saw different sides to what we do in our profession, simply by talking to others and learning a few simple things.

  • We all face similar challenges, (I’ve found great answers)
  • Being able to share with like-minded people has helped me to come up with great solutions, (since I don’t have all the good ideas), and
  • Fresh input, sharing best practice and examples of what works.

I’ve gained a lot from getting involved and talking. The benefits of connecting with like-minded people, has helped me develop and revealed the possibilities of what good internal communication can achieve. I’ve also met some great people and built lasting friendships.

One of the great things about attending events where we can network is that we can simply have conversations, face to face in a live environment or around an activity. It’s a time when we can bypass the intense amount of digital data and express ourselves in person.

So to encourage you I’d like to share some of a recent article I found useful on communicating and networking from CIPR’s website by specialist communicator David Ward, on improving conversations while networking*. The article talked about practicing the art of conversation to improve it and CIPR Inside’s latest event, the summer party (Save the date 26 August, London), is a great place to start.

Getting help with your networking skills is a great idea, here’s a summary of some of the tips mentioned in the article as a reminder:

  • Get networking – put yourself in professional networking situations as often as possible (using social media doesn’t count)
  • Ask questions – start a conversation or demonstrate your interest in what a person is saying by asking questions
  • Encourage the other person to talk about themselves
  • Be a good listener – engage in the conversation.
  • Use body language to express interest in the conversation e.g. keeping eye contact
  • Know when to speak and when to listen – be mindful not to monopolise the conversation or overdo your questioning.
  • Be prepared – keep up with trends and current events and you’ll have something to talk about. Get involved in new interests and you’ll naturally be more interesting.

The world of internal communication is moving rapidly. As we evolve and grow in this relatively new discipline, I believe we can only strengthen our industry by connecting, networking and learning from each other.  See you at the event.

*Reference: The full article by Mark Ward can be found via this link.

 

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Thanks Trudy. Attending events is a great way to refresh your thinking and meet others in the profession. We don’t all have the answers and hearing from others we meet is invariably interesting.

 

And if you’re working on getting yourself Accredited, going to networking events and conferences earns you CPD points too.

 

Our next events are:

Summer drinks 26 August 2015

Annual Internal Communication Conference 13 October 2015

 

Image credit: Featured image Splashbase.co. CCO

 

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