How to network: Seven tips for CAs

Networking event
By Andrew Harbison, CA Today

4 May 2016

Love it or hate it, networking is a great way of meeting like-minded people in your field of work and can help you take the next step in your career. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of these valuable events.

1. Pack a survival kit

  • Contacts book: Although you will have a digital version of this in your phone, a physical book won't run out of memory or power.
  • Business cards: Make sure they look as professional as you do. Take as much care choosing the design as you would picking out your outfit for the event.
  • Winning smile: No one wants to feel like they are boring the person they are talking to, and people generally avoid those who are hiding in the corner. Keep your body language open and welcoming.
  • Hand sanitiser: As you will be shaking a lot of hands, this essential item will stop you from passing on or catching a nasty cold.

2. Do your research

A little bit of background information can go a long way. Have a look at the list of attendees for the event and make a note of who you think will be the most valuable to you. Google them and take a look at their social media pages.

All ICAS events now list the CAs attending the event under the attendee list on the event page. This feature is exclusively available to ICAS members so make sure you login to first to see the list. You can even message the other CAs attending this event and arrange to meet them beforehand.

3. Repeat their name

When you do learn someone’s name, try and use it a couple of times during your conversation with them. The repetition will help the name stick in your head.  If you suddenly realise that the name of the person you are talking to has fallen out of your head, don’t worry. Get over any embarrassment and just ask. “I’m sorry, but I’ve met so many people tonight I’ve forgotten your name,” and smile.

4. Keep moving

It's easy to get stuck with or stick to someone at networking events. This is understandable, especially if you are feeling somewhat uneasy about the whole process. But don’t let that slow you down. Try to keep conversations short and sweet. Make an impression, exchange details, wish them a pleasant evening and move on.

5. Make notes

After exchanging details with someone, make a note of something interesting you may have learnt about them. You can bring it up the next time you speak and it will show you took a genuine interest in them. For example; Adam Smith is expecting his first child in May, or James Bond’s favourite drink is a vodka martini.

6. Don't drink

Well, perhaps one to settle your nerves, but that's it. Yes, you want to be remembered, but not for the wrong reasons.

7. Follow up

Don’t let all of your hard work count for nothing. Reach out and maintain the connections you have made using the CA Connect networking tool from ICAS or via LinkedIn. Get a calendar and jot down a daily list of people to call/email and tick them off as you go. Making sure you stay visible to your contacts is just as important as making the initial connection.

Networking with ICAS

Throughout the year ICAS regularly holds fantastic networking events, both in the UK and around the world. These events present a perfect opportunity for members and non-members to meet.

ICAS members can now connect with a push of a button with the launch of CA Connect. This powerful search tool allows members to search for CAs via name, location or company. The addition of the “search near me” option gives members the means to find the closest CA to their current location. With an in-built messaging function, it has never been easier for CAs to connect with each other.


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