ProNetworking - your future connection and route to success?

The BCS Young Professionals Group (YPG) understands the value of networking and is therefore launching a new series of events called ProNetworking.

To help launch this new initiative YPG members are being offered the opportunity to spend a couple of days on a cruise liner with IT directors from many of the top global companies at the IT Directors' Forum (ITDF).

Senior IT executives and directors gather once a year at the ITDF to discuss day to day business challenges and to set their IT agendas for the year ahead.

Two lucky YPG members will have the chance to take their talents to the next level, networking with these IT directors and industry specialists onboard the cruise liner MV Oriana.

To win a place, competitors will have to deliver a presentation on a subject of their choice at the first ProNetworking event on 4 May at the BCS London office. Delegates will be able to hear the finalists' presentations.

For details on how to apply go to: www.ypg.bcs.org/itdf

The philosophy of networking

With competition for jobs and business at an all time high any advantage to the individual/ organization has to be grabbed at the first opportunity.

Networking is all about making new contacts and increasing profiles either as an individual or as an organization. By obtaining a broad list of contacts from diverse backgrounds individuals can make life easier for themselves and for those they represent.

Nodding politely, collecting business cards and stuffing them away in a drawer somewhere, amidst perished elastic bands is the way most people network. This obviously has limited merit and doesn't really help anyone.

Human networks concern relationships and interaction and have to be proactive and continuous.

Making the first contact allows an interested party to determine whether there is any value in an ongoing relationship. Once contact has been made it is important to nurture this new connection if it is to ever bear fruit. Networking is not simply a quest for business cards; it is about forging relationships, and making friendships. Ultimately, it is far easier to forge a relationship with someone who is likeable.

At functions, people tend to stand in groups talking amongst themselves. A net-worker needs to join in a group's discussions, in order to get to know the people in the group and exchange details with them, and leave a group without being rude or causing offence. This does not come naturally to everyone and takes practice, like anything else, to become good at.

Useful tips

After an event it is useful to make some notes on new acquaintances before their details are forgotten.

Initially business cards should remain visible and not shut away in drawers, as a reminder that further action is needed. Each new contact should be phoned or emailed a day or two later, and a meeting arranged in order to talk in more detail on the subjects which were only touched on during the initial encounter.

Networking happens everywhere, consciously and unconsciously. Any opportunity to meet people is an opportunity to network; Use every opportunity to meet new people and take an interest in them. It is often surprising at how naturally useful contacts can be made.

If there is a lack of opportunities to network, create them. Organize events, join societies and clubs, dust off old address books, and research the best places to find the type of people that might be beneficial to meet.

ProNetworking

ProNetworking is a new series of events from the BCS aimed at providing YPG members with opportunities to network amongst other young IT professionals, learn from seasoned IT professionals and meet guest speakers who will provide career advice. It aims to help members:

• Develop new ideas on solving business problems;
• Promote their companies;
• Forge relationships;
• Influence the IT industry; and
• Meet potential employers and employees.

Visit www.ypg.bcs.org/itdf for details on how to apply to attend the ITDF. Details of the first ProNetworking event will be circulated to YPG members very soon.

Submitted by the YPG national committee (March 2006)

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