Thursday 21 May 2015

How to best represent your agency at networking events

Whether you’re a seasoned tax professional or a junior accountant hoping to accelerate your career, few things have such potential as the chance to network with your peers. Networking events can help you forge real-world connections with people you might only know via email or social media and allow you to represent your agency’s values to the industry at large.

However, making new contacts in a social setting can be challenging if you don’t take the time to prepare. Here’s how to best represent your employer at a networking event.

Reach out to fellow attendees on social media

If you’re representing your employer at a networking event, social media can be a powerful tool. Tweeting about the fact that you’ll be attending using the event’s hashtag or registering your interest in meeting new people on the relevant Facebook or LinkedIn page can encourage fellow attendees to seek you out. It also shows that your agency prioritises industry engagement and participation.

Put your best foot forward

Although networking functions can take place at informal venues, that doesn’t mean you should cast aside your professionalism. It’s important you dress for the occasion, ensure you have plenty of business cards and take the time to introduce yourself and thank your host.

Industry events can feel much more laid-back than a meeting in the office, but it’s also worth monitoring your alcohol consumption and reminding yourself that you’re still ‘on the job’. At the same time, don’t be afraid to relax when talking about yourself and your employer’s work. Letting your personality shine through is often your best shot at building relationships.

Have a clear strategy in mind

There’s no point attending a networking event if you’re clueless about what you plan to achieve. Are you hoping to find potential clients, promote a taxation service that’s new to your agency or simply expand your professional network? If you’re unsure about what your employer expects from you, it might be worth scheduling a meeting beforehand to talk it through. Networking events can provide powerful opportunities to grow a business, so it’s worth your while to use them to your advantage.

Once the event is over, ask yourself how well you represented your agency and if you’ve met your goals. And don’t forget to nurture the relationships you built by making the effort to connect with your new contacts on a regular basis.

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