When I first became a PA I had no real clue about networking, what it was, what you did, what the point of it was. I am however, and have been for some time, a fan of social media, so without know it I was networking online, making connections regionally, nationally and internationally. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – free resources that make it all so much easier. Making these connections meant that I knew faces and names of PAs and EAs. It also meant I had a fantastic, growing network of support available at the touch of a button.
Along with making these wonderful connections, I also found out about Networking events specifically for PAs/EAs/Office Managers etc. and they were happening pretty much on my doorstep, so I signed up to attend one!
The first Networking event I attended was run by the Manchester PA Network.
I am biased when it comes to their events as they are truly amazing and I have made some very good friends from attending them. They also raise money for the Christie Cancer Charity, so what’s not to love really?
There are different types of Networking events: casual, corporate, charity, celebrity, to name just a few. Although they have different titles, dress codes and even criteria, they are all working towards the same aim: to meet new people. It really is that simple. There is no hidden agenda or secret meaning. Networking is just that.
What I have learned from Networking events is this:
- EVERYONE is scared at their first event, especially if they go on their own
- It’s OK to go up to someone else on their own and introduce yourself. I promise they will be as relieved as you when you start talking
- You never know who you are talking to and what potential opportunities can arise from that very brief conversation
- The goodie bags are usually pretty epic
- There’s always food and drink, which is a great conversation starter: ‘Oh you like Prosecco too! You’re my new best friend!’
OK so the last two are a little bit tongue in cheek, but I’m sure you get what I mean.
As a very proud PA who is currently on secondment to a new role, I cannot recommend Networking enough. I have learned so many skills, improved my confidence and made life long friends. I even set up an internal PA Network at my workplace, which led to me being awarded North West PA of the Year in 2013, something I am extremely proud of.
So, if you’re thinking of dipping your toe in the Networking pool but aren’t quite sure, I say DO IT! I promise you will enjoy it.
If you would like to talk more about Networking head over to Twitter and connect with me. I’ll be more than happy to talk it through with you!
*Thank you to the Manchester PA Network for allowing me to use images from their events in this post*