Effective networking is arguably the single most important thing you can do to give your accounting career the boost it needs to take you from good to great. Professional connection opportunities are around every corner, but positioning yourself to meet the right people in the right situations can be more difficult. Today’s article discusses three key tips accountants can use in their networking efforts to make sure their efforts are rewarded.
The Value of a Digital Network
LinkedIn has become a very important source for digital networking, particularly in the realm of professional development. LinkedIn offers location specific groups that allow you to connect with other accounting professionals within your geographic region. An introduction through a digital network can offer a nice icebreaker for those who are hesitant to meet people in person. Connecting with other financial professionals online by participating in engaging online discussions makes the act of networking that much easier.
Focus on Public Speaking
Many accounting professionals don’t have the opportunity to really develop their public speaking skills on the job which can make the act of networking a bit intimidating. Joining professional groups or a Toastmasters group can give you the chance to practice and improve your public speaking skills. Additionally, such events can provide valuable networking opportunities. Meeting casually with others within your profession helps to set the stage for productive conversations in the future. Furthermore, practicing your public speaking skills in an equally less pressurized situation will help to bolster your confidence and make discussions flow more naturally and result in more productive outcomes.
Making natural connections with professionals who are as eager to build their own career as you are to build yours can be a little strained at times. Don’t be afraid to think outside the networking box when it comes to reaching out to people. Some of the most productive conversations happen when you least expect them to. Consider looking to online forums such as Reddit to find professional meet-ups and engage in conversations relevant to your field. Keep in mind that people love to talk about themselves and online forums provide a wealth of opportunities to do just that. By looking to connect with people outside of the usual networking mixers and events, you engage them in a more interesting and often more productive way.
Other non-traditional opportunities for networking include joining community or interest groups (online and in real life) and striking up conversations whenever you have the opportunity to engage with someone. Ask what they do and why, and don’t be afraid to tell them your story as well. A great professional connection can happen just about anywhere. The trick is to place yourself in the right situations so that you are able to meet the right people and then convert those opportunities into long term and meaningful connections.