Ahead of travelling to WISE 2015 next week, where he will be presenting at two round tables and moderating another, we spoke to GlobalSportsJobs CEO Will Lloyd about the importance of networking at events such as WISE and asked him for some tips on making the most of the networking opportunity if you’re new to the industry:

How important would you say networking is for young professionals looking to build a career in the sports industry? 

The sports industry has developed historically through personal relationships and it is on this basis that networking is still a vital skill that holds significant value in the marketplace. Whether you are an individual looking for a job or in a job and looking to grow your network to develop new business opportunities, or diversifying your contacts, networking is a core skill. The best place to network is at events such as WISE. There are plenty of events in the sports industry, both specialist and more general, and you should make the most of these to grow your network. 

What are the benefits of attending a networking event such as WISE? 

Networking events are great for meeting like-minded individuals that you can learn from and potentially work with. Remember, unlike an email, networking is a great way to get your personality across. Battle those nerves and make sure you are ready to express yourself and leave a lasting impression. You will be surprised at how much confidence you can gain from attending these events. Talking to industry professionals will help you to feel positive, and learning about the potential career paths will help you to kick-start or move your career forward by understanding what you need to do next. 

What should attendees do to prepare ahead of WISE to get the most out of it? 

Preparation is key for events like this. As a young professional they are a fantastic opportunity to get yourself noticed so attending with a plan is the best thing you can do. The best tip I can give you on planning would be to make sure you do your research on the attendees. It is very easy to put this off until it is too late, but researching key people, and prioritising them is key to a successful event. Remember that everyone at the event is there to meet people and learn, therefore they expect to meet new people, learn new ideas and concepts and leave the event more informed than when they arrived. Be confident and clear when speaking to people. There is nothing worse than someone that takes too long to get to the point or doesn’t say anything of value. To make the optimal first impression, prepare what you want to say to each individual, make it relevant, give them a solid handshake, and finally maintain eye-contact. There may only be one opportunity to introduce yourself at the event so don’t miss it. 

Do you have any final tips that might help the young professionals attending WISE? 

Make sure that you follow up on any networking you do at WISE. Swap business cards and maintain a record of everyone you’ve met. Keeping a record will help you recall who you’ve met and will help them to recall you when you make that second contact. Finally, seize the opportunity, don’t put it off or create barriers in your head – unless of course you haven’t prepared! 

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