Tips for networking in Canberra

A guide to networking in Canberra,

Networking can be intimidating; it’s essentially formal socializing and it doesn’t come naturally to most people. It can feel isolating trying to further your career, start a business or get an idea off the ground when you don’t have the connections you need to progress.

Networking is so much more than forming business connections, it’s about genuinely connecting with people in the community that can offer a helping hand when it comes to your journey and experience.

But how do you get started?

The best way to kick start your network is to attend networking events, these are events that are catered to networking, it’s like speed dating for business connections!

Networking events come in all shapes and sizes, there are university-hosted events for students and researchers like STEM networking at ANU, industry-based events like the cyber networking through the Canberra Cyber Hub, women’s networking events like the ones held by Women with Altitude and Female Founders at the Canberra Innovation Network and industry diagnostic events like First Wednesday Connect at the Canberra Innovation Network.

Top tips for networking, from the Canberra Innovation Network team.

  • Make sure you network – don’t feel bad if you introduce yourself, have a short convo and then let the people know you’re going to go talk to others, you’re there to network! – Hannah Hartgers, Innovation Program Officer.
  • Don’t get hung up in long conversations, be sure to grab someone’s details and maybe follow up for a coffee catch-up if you’re interested, Candace Rhind Office Manager, and EA support to the CEO.
  • Make friends, not just connections. People value transparency and prefer to make a genuine connection and can tell if you’re just looking to use someone for a leg up. – Grace Carr, Marketing and Comms Officer.
  • Everyone is there to network, don’t be afraid to start a conversion yourself. A very simple conversation starter that almost always works is ‘what are you working on?’ – you might be surprised at the very wide range of answers you get. – Craig Davis, General Manager of Growth Programs.
  • Have an exit strategy for the conversations that are not working out. “Nice to meet you; thanks for sharing…Please excuse me… I wish you the best!” – Duncan Amos, SME Director
  • Have business cards handy. I’m sorry to admit names don’t always stick in my mind too well but receiving a business card means I know who to connect with on LinkedIn later. – Hayley Maddox, Events coordinator
  • If the person you are talking to is not a good match, ask them if they know of anyone they can introduce you to. – Hollie Bell, Innovation Community Manager

If you’re looking to start your network, why not come along to the next First Wednesday Connect at the Canberra Innovation Network!? It’s the perfect event to get your foot in the door and start or grow your network. These events happen on the first Wednesday of every month and offer a casual and pressure-free environment to network. First Wednesday is a free event with the aim to encourage attendance from everyone from students to successful business owners!

Register now for the next First Wednesday Connect!