Networking…the Right Way

Apr 14th 11
By Louisa Cowan

Love it or hate it, there is no doubt that there is a use for networking in the yachting industry. In fact, if you’re able to work the room in the right way, it can open doors and provide a step up on that career ladder. When it comes to getting your next job, finding and recruiting talented new crew or picking up some helpful career advice, knowing the right people and being known by the right people can make a huge difference.

 

“I certainly never want to be considered a schmooze, but I must confess that there is a certain amount of schmoozing involved, especially at boat shows, parties, broker days and anytime you’re surrounded by other yachting professionals,” says one captain who would prefer to remain nameless. “I get cards from everyone and then at the end of the day I make a little note on the back to remind me who they are. I’m lucky, I have a good memory for names and faces!”

Anyone can be the life of the party, but there is a big difference in making an impression that people will want to remember and one that people would like to forget. Here are the top five tips for networking the right way.

 

Don’t get drunk! This can be a tough one as it’s hard at these events, which often are parties where booze freely flows, to stick to one or two drinks – especially when everyone else has hard three or four…or more. But being the only one in the room who remembers the evening is better than being the only one in the room everyone else remembers because you fell off your stool and were carried out. A bit of Dutch courage is understandable, but there is no need to be bouncing off the walls because people will notice.

“I would put a large, black mark against the name of anyone who I had seen wasted at a work thing,” says Chief Stewardess Amanda. “They wouldn’t be getting a job with me any time soon.”

 

Dress Smart. Networking is all about good first impressions. While you might not need to don your glad rags – unless of course it is the kind of event that requires full-on evening dress – make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Fancy dress is another issue in the yachting industry, as everyone likes a theme party. But be aware – don’t dress too risqué or you may get phone calls for the wrong reasons.

 

Don’t be too pushy. Although you want to put yourself out there, don’t be too forceful. Common courtesy applies. Don’t jump into other people’s conversations and be polite.  

 

Be prepared. Make sure you’re able to give people the information they need as soon as they ask for it. Have business cards printed with your name, telephone number and email address. You might consider including your job title, qualifications and a photo as well, just to help people put a face to a name. Business cards are a much better option at networking events than a CV.

“If I’m out and about, I keep the business cards that I am given by interesting people,” says Capt. John. “But if I’m handed a CV, it tends to be left on a table somewhere. It’s just impractical to be carrying lots of paper around.”

 

Overcome the fear of rejection. Some people will like you, some won’t, that is just the way life is. Don’t be afraid to approach someone because you are worried that you might be knocked back. It will happen, but sometimes it won’t and you never know which contact is really worth making.

 

Get out there and make yourself known. Be confident but never cocky, make an impression, make it a good one, and in the words of President Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far.” But maybe leave the big stick at home.

 

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2 Comments
  • Networking is a key part of a successful career no matter what industry you are in. I spent the good part of 10years working on board yachts for some of the toughest captains in the industry. However they introduced me to the owners or managers of some of the leading manufactures, shipyards and distributors of products in the industry. This first allowed me do my job to a new standard with the knowledge of the products most weren’t aware of. It later led me into building a small business and my own website to arrange this wealth of information, MarineDex. I urge all crew to look carefully at where they are and who they are with and understand that someday that person could be useful in opening a new door either in or outside the industry.
    Posted by MarineDex 18/04/2011 08:01:32

  • I’ve done my share of networking and learnt to refined my style and adjust to prevailing circumstances, savvy crew step out of their comfort zone, increase their networking bandwidth and connect with people above their professional level. A chance meeting with a key person will lead to something if you maintain the relationship overtime and subtly showcase professional improvements during future interactions, like stepping up in vessel size and rank. As you meet people be prepared to feel uncomfortable and occasionally be disappointed by iconic figures, some years ago I muscled my way through a tight crowd and began talking to a person I knew professionally and discovered after hours this person was a slush at social events, since that incident I’ve made a point to steer clear of them because they misrepresented themselves and discussed private contracts with whom ever asked.
    Posted by Bob_8 15/04/2011 11:39:08

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