Networking…the Right Way

14 April 2011 By Louisa Cowan

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Love it or hate it, there is no doubt that there is ause for networking in the yachting industry. In fact, if you’re able to workthe room in the right way, it can open doors and provide a step up on thatcareer ladder. When it comes to getting your next job, finding and recruitingtalented new crew or picking up some helpful career advice, knowing the rightpeople 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 byother yachting professionals,” says one captain who would prefer to remainnameless. “I get cards from everyone and then at the end of the day I make alittle note on the back to remind me who they are. I’m lucky, I have a goodmemory for names and faces!”

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

Don’t getdrunk! This canbe a tough one as it’s hard at these events, which often are parties where booze freely flows, to stick toone or two drinks – especially when everyone else has hard three or four…ormore. But being the only one in the room who remembers the evening is better than being theonly one in the room everyone else remembers because you fell off your stooland were carried out. A bit of Dutch courage is understandable, but there is noneed to be bouncing off the walls because people will notice.

“I would put a large, black mark against the name ofanyone who I had seen wasted at a work thing,” says Chief StewardessAmanda. “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 requiresfull-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 youmay get phone calls for the wrong reasons.

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

Be prepared. Makesure you’re able to give people the information they need as soon as they askfor it. Have business cards printed with your name, telephone number and emailaddress. You might consider including your job title, qualifications and a photoas well, just to help people put a face to a name. Business cards are a muchbetter option at networking events than a CV.

“If I’m out andabout, 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 thefear of rejection. Some people will like you, some won’t, that isjust the way life is. Don’t be afraid to approach someone because you areworried that you might be knocked back. It will happen, but sometimes it won’tand you never know which contact is really worth making.

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

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