Last week the Juice Academy was visited by Ian Walker, a Business Development coach from CPD Works, who had just returned from the Sahara desert.
The main purpose of Ian’s time at the academy was to help us develop our networking and people skills, not only in the office, but outside too.
Ian started his talk by telling us how, from a young age, all he ever wanted to do was to be a businessman in Dubai. Not only did he tell us why, he told us how he managed to do it.
One of the first words to come out of Ian’s mouth was ‘confidence’, as he believes confidence is the key to becoming a successful networker.
A rather humorous but true analogy he gave us was that you should be more like a duck, which made us all laugh. His reasoning for this was that when a duck is swimming across a pond its top half is very calm and confident whereas its bottom half, underneath the waterline, is flapping and working like mad to stay afloat and reach its destination no matter what.
To me, it sounded like he was trying to get across the point that all hell could be breaking loose backstage, but if you are calm and confident on the outside, all will be well.
Ian then went on to tell us how important networking is in everyday life. One of the quotes I wrote down was “networking is establishing, maintaining and utilising a network of contacts to serve specific objectives.” The reason I liked this quote so much was because it relates not only to work, but the outside world too - as everybody, one day, will need to ask for a favour or some help. Following on from this, he also mentioned that 90% of people who go to a networking event don’t actually follow up with anyone they exchanged business cards or words with. I found this statistic extraordinary until I realised that I too was guilty of this.
The next part of Ian’s talk was about how you shouldn’t label yourself when meeting and interacting with new people. He explained to us that instead of introducing yourself as a job title, introduce yourself by saying what you actually do. A few keywords I picked up on from what he mentioned were “design your own framework” and “set yourself up for another question”. I feel that by introducing yourself as a ‘Social Media Apprentice’ it straight away snaps that person’s brain into thinking: “Oh, so you just play around on Twitter then?” Whereas if you say something along the lines of : “I manage and control a handful of online accounts”, it sets you up for another question.
Here are Ian’s top 7 networking tips:
Stay alert! You never know who’s around or who you could be speaking to
Don’t just tell, ask! Remember, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so use them accordingly
Prepare your introduction well. Practice on friends/family or even work colleagues
Adopt a giving mentality
Sometimes it’s who you know
Choose your audience carefully
Remember we live in a 'global village’- everybody knows everybody
One of the best bits of advice Ian gave us before he left was the fact that passion motivates!
I don’t know if it was only me but Ian really did inspire me to never give up on my passion. I’d just like to say, from me and everyone else at the academy, thank you!