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7 Steps to Networking – Lesley Immink

21 November 2014

By Rowan Townsend, GM Marketing, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism

In the new Botanic Gardens Ilex Café and with the backdrop of waking ducklings, a 24 degree nor-west breeze and delicious fruit salad we listened this morning to Lesley Immink’s wise words about the Power of Networking. This was the second meeting of the Young TEC Christchurch group – a place where those who are under 36 in the Tourism Industry can network and learn about how to be successful in the industry.

Lesley's 7 steps on how to network effectively:

1. Establish your goal

Prior to contacting anybody it's a good idea to decide on what kind of information or assistance it is that you would like – Lesley gave the example of trying to get a customer across the line or establishing a new relationship.

2. Do you research

Being prepared helps you to frame the conversation in a way that makes you more confident and creates a positive impression. This could be by suggestion how you liked a certain aspect of the company website, a new project they've been doing or a presentation they’ve recently done.

3. Make contact

In a face-to-face setting it can be good to ask them for information about themselves, otherwise it can be good to provide information about yourself. While it's quite natural for some people to be shy it's important to know that networking is not easy. Lesley's words of wisdom were, "I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it." Lesley reminded us that at the end of the day networking is all about people – not personal promotion or getting more customers. Be personable and think of it as expanding on your existing network of friends, acquantainces and leveraging on their networks.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, I'm saying it's going to be worth it

Lesley Immink, Chief Executive TECNZ

4. Send a thank you note or email

Everyone appreciates people with good follow through – it makes them memorable. This step is easy to remember but sometimes overlooked. Lesley suggested making notes about where you met the new contact should be something done immediately and then the follow up should be done ideally within 48 hours.

5. Develop a contacts file

Storing contacts means you are going to remember how to find them when you need them. It might help to also store information about where you met them so you can reference this the next time you’re in touch.

6. Set goals for on-going networking

How will you keep in touch with this new contact? What's appropriate and how can you keep it fresh and relevant?

7. Always reciprocate

Be respectful of everyone you have met and remember that if you ask anyone for help, then be prepared to return the favour.

More about Young TEC

Young TEC is a voluntary organisation that offers members regular networking events with other young professionals working in the tourism industry, educational workshops and a mentoring and development programme that includes the most up-to-date tourism information and tips to take into the own workplace. Membership is free and open to anyone under 36 years old who is employed by organisations who are TEC members. For more info see their Facebook page – or if you’re in Canterbury and what to know more contact regional co-ordinators Julia or Ryan.

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