Arguably one of Australia’s best networkers, Tanya Oziel is the Deputy CEO of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle – a strategic growth partner which provides events and networking opportunities for business people and government leaders in Australia and New Zealand.
With over 25 years’ experience working closely with corporate Australia, Tanya has built influential and diverse business and personal networks.
Today, she shares her advice on how you can network successfully and how it can take your career to the next level.
What does networking actually mean?
Networking is about building solid and long-term relationships. It’s about creating a group of like-minded people around you who will actually enhance you both professionally and personally.
Do you think there’s a stigma that networking is about using people?
I think it’s about intention. If you actually go into a networking opportunity with the intent of using someone then that’s what it’s going to be, but if you go in there with the intention of building something that’s going to be sustainable and mutually beneficial I think it can be so powerful.
Can anyone benefit from networking?
Absolutely; it can be daunting but anyone can do it. Again it’s about how much you give. For us at Trans-Tasman Business Circle, it’s all about giving and creating opportunities to network; opening doors for people is really rewarding.
What can good networking do for your career?
Fundamentally, people do business with people, and I think that’s where networking starts and ends. Face-to-face is the most powerful way of networking because you can actually really connect with the person, and if you don’t connect you just move on.
Not that it’s like speed dating! But if you’re not in an environment where you’re with like-minded people and your personal network is not being enhanced as well as your professional then there’s no point you being there.
If you’re a networking beginner, what’s the first step you should take?
I think it’s about being prepared to to come out of your comfort zone. If you’re already going into that room knowing you’re about to network then I think you’re already set to leave that comfort zone and are ready to overcome your fears.
Is it wrong to try and network with someone more senior than you?
I don’t believe so, and I think senior business leaders love the energy of young and emerging leaders.
If someone is confident enough to actually approach a senior business leader I think more than likely they’ll get a wonderful response from that leader. They will in fact encourage that. After all, if our senior business leaders don’t give back to the young then how are they going to grow?
Is it important to self-promote?
I think personal brand is very important but that’s very different to self-promoting. If you have your own personal brand where people have trust in you, you have integrity and you do things with the right intention people will know you for that and they will always be open to you.
Do you notice the more senior people get the less they feel they need to network?
I think you can never network enough and I believe it’s a mistake to stop networking, because networking is growth – it’s personal and professional growth.