PracticeAccounting FirmsHighly influential: find comfort in strangers

Highly influential: find comfort in strangers

One accountant I know likes a good old grumble. It could be about the commute, the staff canteen or one of his favourite rants – networking events

‘Network? I’d rather bury my head in the crab-cakes than have to shove
business cards in people’s faces or interrupt two directors in the corner having
a tiff.’

He’s a man of extremes, of course, but for many accountants there is a real
sense of dread when it comes to these events. The prospect of talking to
strangers makes them feel uncomfortable and can reduce some to wilting
wallflowers.

You could take the 6:20 home in time for The One Show or you could choose to
go and take advantage of potential opportunities for you and your firm.

I’m not saying the most taciturn personalities can be transformed into the
most gregarious of characters – but networking is a skill, and preparation and a
bit of practice can pay big dividends.

Think about what you want to achieve, how many people you want to meet and do
homework on who might be there.

First impressions count, so check yourself in the mirror before entering the
room. You’ve probably been at work all day, travelled in on a cramped bus or
with your face in someone’s armpit on the tube, so make sure you’re presentable.

Approaching a group is often the trickiest part. Avoid two people in close
conversation but a group of three or more can be a good option if you approach
on the eyeline of the person leading the conversation.

Have an answer prepared to the inevitable ‘…and what do you do?’ Keep it
short, but add detail and describe the benefit of what you offer – ‘I’m with PDD
and I help my clients minimise their tax.’ Business cards can be exchanged at
any time in the conversation. If sooner, they can be used as a talking point and
serve as a way of remembering names. If offered later, they confirm a real
interest in the other person and give you reason to follow up.

Don’t forget to follow up or all your hard work will have been for nothing.
Consider writing a short, handwritten note or letter enclosing an article you
think might be of interest to them rather than an email for maximum impact.
Relationships are often established this way that last for years.

So the next time you’re invited to a networking event, go along. You can also
always record The One Show, after all.

Jack Downton is managing director of The Influence Business and a former
colonel in the Royal Marines.
TheInfluenceBusiness.com

Related Articles

Backsourcing: The latest accountancy trend?

Accounting Firms Backsourcing: The latest accountancy trend?

2w Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Crowe Clark Whitehill makes three partner promotions

Accounting Firms Crowe Clark Whitehill makes three partner promotions

2w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
BDO promotes 1,110 people

Accounting Firms BDO promotes 1,110 people

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Where is your next client coming from?

Accounting Firms Where is your next client coming from?

1m James Noble, Propero Partners
Specialist VAT service provider joins MHA

Accounting Firms Specialist VAT service provider joins MHA

1m Austin Clark, Reporter
EY UK reports revenue growth of 9.2%

Accounting Firms EY UK reports revenue growth of 9.2%

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Golf tournament for accountants launches in 2018

Accounting Firms Golf tournament for accountants launches in 2018

3w Azalea | Sponsored
KPMG replaces PwC as Croda auditor

Accounting Firms KPMG replaces PwC as Croda auditor

1m Emma Smith, Managing Editor