We asked WINS London Hub Lead, Yousra Salem, to share her thoughts and insights from running her first WINS in-person event back in October. Read on to find out what the event attendees decided were the top 5 tips for effective networking…
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa
Finding my purpose and strength
There are many experiences in life that could qualify as life-changing and transformational. Setting meaningful goals in our lives is healing for us, especially if it helps positively impact people’s lives. Becoming part of Women in Sustainability Network (WINS) allowed me to find my hidden inner strength, learning, and community who share my passion and purpose to create a fairer and greener future.
One of my highlights so far has been organising and running my first WINS event in London, “Networking for Career Success.” It was such a gratifying experience, full of excitement and adrenaline, and I am gradually building a sense of confidence, and satisfaction with the work I’m doing.
On the day of the event
I was delighted to see such a fantastic mix of women from various sustainability sectors and at different stages in their careers. It was by far the most diverse event I have attended in terms of ethnicity, age, and background, making our conversations and engagements so much richer. We had a lot of fun and were able to inspire each other through the group activities, leveraging everyone’s collective intelligence and experience to outline a 5-step framework for effective networking.
I wanted to share that here with you now so that you can take away these key learnings and apply them to your approach to networking for career success!
1. Define your goals
What are your needs? Are you looking for inspiration and support to build courage? Do you need help finding your purpose? Or do you want to tackle a specific challenge such as getting a job, a promotion, or expanding your business? Or maybe your needs are a combination of several issues?
2. Choose the people who can help
You can start by creating a list of names of your existing close relations or new acquaintances. Next, identify roles in different functions or industries where you have an interest or want to collect information. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current network and identify who is missing from it.
3. Initiate conversations
Think about what you are going to ask/request. Then, prepare your elevator pitch and motivation sources that will encourage people to help you. Is your request linked to a good cause, a relatable challenge, or an interest in their work? Finally, think about your conversation starters; “I was wondering if you could consider helping me with xxx.” “Do you mind spending time with me to explore/understand xx because of your expertise in xx?”
4. Identify your needs
People can play specific or multiple roles in your network. For example, you might need door openers who can provide access to resources and advocate for you, mentors who can give you candid feedback and challenge your decisions, or experts who offer insights and knowledge into markets, industries, and projects.
5. Payback and help others
Thinking of the various attitudes toward giving back, we discussed reciprocity. According to most people in the room, we felt it is not always necessary to have a direct exchange of benefits. However, others thought it could not be only for altruistic reasons. I would say we shouldn’t be afraid to extend acts of generosity; it helps us and others by nurturing a strong supportive community.
Now that we have made new friends in this event, we should keep the momentum going by staying aligned, organised, and connected to act and be a force for good!
By WINS London Hub Lead, Yousra Salem.
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