How to network for people who hate networking

How to network for people who hate networking

Networking opens doors to opportunities, collaborations and career advancement, but it doesn’t need to have the cringe factor.

Is there anything worse than networking? After a long day at a conference or the office, finding the motivation to freshen up and head to a windowless conference room for meet-and-mingles is a struggle.

And yet, in media, contacts are everything. It’s undeniable that forming and maintaining meaningful relationships throughout your career opens doors to opportunities, collaborations and career advancement.

But if you find yourself dreading the thought of traditional networking events, know that you have plenty of company.

Here, we look at four ways to network — without the cringe. Your little black book will be heaving in no time.

Volunteer at industry functions

Taking an active role and helping run events provides you with opportunities to interact with attendees, organisers and fellow volunteers in a more natural way.

Whether you’re serving drinks and nibbles, greeting guests or collecting glassware, you’ll have plenty of chances to chat, without wondering what to do with your hands.

Plus, you’ll avoid drinking too much — a common pitfall of the nervous networker. And your dedication to the industry association will also be noted.

Attend interest-based events

Very general networking events are usually the ones that feel most forced. Instead of broadly targeted conferences or networking events, seek out gatherings that align with your interests and passions.

Think niche. Perhaps it’s generative AI workshops, culture talks, women-in-media panel discussions, awards lunches or a Chinese social media masterclass. Pick a subject that interests you.

Connecting with industry peers in an education or upskilling capacity can feel less like a chore. Plus, you’ll learn something new too.

Use social media

While it’s easier to maintain and build relationships online, it’s not impossible to start them through social media.

X used to be the platform of choice for media professionals, but this isn’t the case any more. Loose moderation and the proliferation of fake news has seen X lose 3m monthly UK visitors following Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover.

More and more people are using Instagram for work, LinkedIn remains popular for more corporate conversations, while TikTok and Threads are the rising stars in this space.

Virtual networking allows you to build relationships over a long period of time and from the comfort of your desk or sofa.

Quality over quantity

Very ambitious professionals might view a guest list for an event and make a list of connections they’d like to make. But you don’t need to be this strategic.

Focus on a few meaningful conversations and listen — ask thoughtful questions and without looking over their shoulder for someone better to talk to. A smaller network of strong connections can be more valuable than a vast network of superficial acquaintances.

After the event, don’t forget to follow up with a text, email or social media message to say it was lovely meeting them and, if appropriate, mention what event you’ll be going to next. You might even gain a networking buddy that will help mitigate future dread.

If you’re contemplating a job move, The Media Leader Job Board is full of roles with leading companies offering competitive salaries, like these three below.

Parliamentary reporter, PA Media, Paddington

Cover the House of Commons in this PA Media role as parliamentary reporter and you’ll be part of a team of political specialists who are relied upon by regional and national media.

The crux of this role is filing fast, accurate and fair copy on major stories from the Commons and, occasionally, the House of Lords. You’ll need an ability to handle fast-moving pieces, an eye for spotting key news lines and file news alerts where necessary.

Generating stories, developing your own contacts and working well within a small team are all essential, as is the confidence to file offbeat stories, as well as breaking political news. Apply here.

Display account manager, Dentsu Aegis Network, London

Join Dentsu as a display account manager and you’ll deliver best-in-class display planning across campaigns and provide solutions that deliver on client objectives across print, digital and the programmatic landscape.

You’ll be responsible for coordinating and managing activity, and you will develop strong relationships with media owners and clients, while providing high-quality and innovative solutions in response to briefs.

Strong knowledge across performance media with experience in planning is required, as is great attention to detail, strong numerate and analytical skills, plus excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

This permanent role comes with a competitive salary, a benefits package and flexible working arrangements. Find out more.

Client partner, AMP, Spotify, London

Spotify is currently recruiting for its ad sales department, specifically a client partner to join its agency management partnerships team.

To apply, you’ll need a consistent track record of revenue generation selling directly to media agencies and a passion for digital media and innovation.

In the role, you’ll own and be accountable for quarterly and yearly revenue goals, as well as pipeline management and growth goals for key clients at a specific media agency group.

Developing and maintaining relationships with key media agencies is essential, as is accurate forecasting, consultative brand selling and knowledge of Salesforce. Find out more here.

Visit The Media Leader Job Board to discover available opportunities

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