27 January 2023

If you’re beginning your career in social housing, one of the most powerful things you can do is to meet other people in the sector.

Your peers can be a source of support in hard times, inspire you with new ideas, and provide guidance.

However, it can be difficult to know how to approach networking.

In the lead up to our Housing Finance Conference and Exhibition, taking place on 15-16 March at the ACC in Liverpool, Emma shares some of her top networking tips to help you get the most out of it.

1. Choose wisely – you don’t need to attend every event, or talk to everyone. Spend some time thinking about who you would like to meet, and choose the events you attend and the people you approach based on your goals.

2. Research – it’s worthwhile spending a little time looking at the social media profiles of the people you would like to connect with before attending. You can also use our event app to start conversations with other delegates and exhibitors for two weeks before and three months after the event.

3. Consider mentoring – mentoring is a unique opportunity to get specific guidance on your goals and challenges from someone who has been there. Finance conference attendees can register for a one to one mentoring session with a respected sector leader. Please note that availability is limited.

4. Take a colleague – having a colleague with you can help ease any pre-event nerves, and can make those all-important ice breakers much easier.

5. Plan your conversation – I'm not talking about writing a script, but having a few points planned out in advance to draw from can be helpful.

6. Arrive early – begin the day in relative peace and quiet, and avoid coming into a room where people are already in conversation. With this in mind, we’ve arranged a specific newcomers networking event at this year’s Finance conference, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet other people in a similar position to you before the hustle and bustle of the main event begins.

7. Take breaks – regular breaks are a great chance to reset and refresh, and give you the opportunity to digest what you’ve seen and discussed.

8. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect – conversation is a two-way street. It can feel like there’s pressure to perform to keep conversation flowing, but it’s OK if there is the occasional lull. It can even help you to form a better connection if you’re honest about feeling nervous, rather than trying to act more confident than you really feel.

If you are in training to be an accountant, or have qualified since 31 March 2022, you are eligible for our 50% Finance Fundamentals discount. The conference is also CPD accredited.

You can book your places on our website.

Emma Harrison

Emma is events manager at the National Housing Federation.

Emma is events manager at the National Housing Federation, ensuring the smooth operational delivery of a large portfolio of commercial events often with over a thousand delegates on site.

Having worked in events for twenty years, Emma has extensive experience. Her background includes organising award ceremonies and large scale conferences for the Royal Television Society and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

How to get the most out of networking