Building bridges:How teenagers can start networking


    By Siya Gauri Singh

    In today’s rapidly evolving world, networking is the tool of the successful. It’s from networking that business professionals gain key connections, forge partnerships and exchange relevant ideas, all of which help expand their own business potential. Networking is a high value skill that is fundamentally important when seeking success in any industry today.

    But networking isn’t just a skill reserved for seasoned professionals wearing fancy suits. It’s a skill that is relevant to everyone in this world, including teenagers. In fact, developing networking skills early on serves to augment our progress for the rest of our lives, no matter what we choose to do.

    So, here are some practical tips to start networking today: 

    Start with genuine interest

    Networking is more than just exchanging contacts; it’s about forging meaningful and lasting connections. Explore your interests and passions through school clubs and community events, and strike up conversations with the people you meet. Genuine interest in common activities serves as a great conversation starter and a means of forming authentic connections. 

    Attend events and workshops

    Stepping out of your comfort zone can help you improve in many ways, and is a great way to boost your networking skills. Melbourne is a city with tons of events catering to many different interests, so you are bound to find something that strikes your fancy. Be it a coding workshop or a career fest, attending these events will provide you with fantastic opportunities to meet new people, learn from experts and engage with new ideas. 

    Practise effective communication

    Good networking stems from good communication skills. For starters, familiarise yourself in the art of small talk. Often, making small talk with others can help segway into deeper conversations, and therefore build authentic connections. Practise active listening, articulating your thoughts effectively and asking insightful questions. 

    Volunteer and intern

    Volunteering and intern opportunities are not only a valuable learning experience, but also allow you to network with industry professionals. Building relationships with people already working in the industry can open doors to future opportunities. 

    Utilise Social Media: As the social media generation, we can effectively utilise social media to curate a strong professional online presence for ourselves. LinkedIn for example, is a social media platform that can serve as a worthwhile resource for students and help uncover opportunities within the professional world. Sharing insights, engaging in relevant discussions, and connecting with other individuals on social media platforms can help expand your network tremendously. 

    Follow up

    Effective networking doesn’t end with the exchange of contact details. Instead, the real game of networking starts after that. A thank-you email, for example, can go a long way in nurturing strong relationships and establish an interest in staying in touch. 

    Networking is the skill for your future, and the sooner you master it, the better. So talk to other students at your school, attend different workshops and form authentic connections. Before you know it, you will have a large network to count on. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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