Review of New Year New Skills Session 3: Making the most of networking events

Wednesday 29 January 2020


Held at Ramboll UK Ltd, Cadnam

Speaker Rachel Bell, Communications Director, Stride Treglown

Introduced by Sotira Georgiou, Senior Engineer at Ramboll UK Ltd

I have been an architect for 20 years and this January set up my own business working with the Franchise Pride Road, specialising in house extensions. Working for myself has made me aware that I need to create a network around me of like minded and supportive professionals, hence my interest in attending this event. I work from home in the New Forest.

This was my first Women in Property event as I had only recently become aware of the Solent branch. Previously when I looked into it events were held in Bristol, Cornwall or London and while working part time with young children it did not seem feasible to attend. I was interested to see how well attended the Solent meetings were.

Rachel started by reminding us that when you work with people you trust, it makes life easier when things go wrong. Networking is essentially ‘finding your tribe’. Once you find them, these people will have your back throughout your career.

We then learnt some valuable insights about what to do before, during and after networking events. In summary Rachel taught us how to,

● Do your research
● You don’t have to sell
● Stand tall, stand out
● Listen and move around
● Write notes on business cards
● Be yourself
● Follow up and LinkedIn

During her talk, Rachel got us to practice our handshakes with the person sitting next to us. I got to practice mine with the only man in the room! At the end of the talk we had the opportunity to do some speed networking. We had a few minutes to introduce ourselves to 2 or 3 people in the room. This was so valuable and will have helped everyone to build their confidence. Practice is so useful and this was a structured, non-competitive environment with everyone in the same boat. Business cards were exchanged and the room was buzzing.

Learning about networking in the context of a Women in Property event was very informative. Professionals at all stages of their career attended and young women could voice their concerns in a supportive environment, learning from the experiences of those further on in their career. Rachel was engaging and knowledgeable and many took the opportunity to connect with her afterwards. I wonder how many of us have managed to connect since the event, as we were taught to do?!

I look forward to further Women in Property events and wish I had been involved earlier on with this supportive and dynamic organisation.

Laura Simpkins, Architect, Pride Road New Forest

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