For Women in Steer’s final webinar marking International Women’s Day, we had three speakers to talk about confidence building and networking, rounding off a week of top-notch presentations from some of our leading employees.
Hannah Thomas, Joint Head of UK Planning at Steer, started the session with tips on growing confidence and shared her experiences of how she built up her own confidence incrementally over the years.
Hannah said she had worked hard to develop strategies to combat imposter syndrome and outlined the benefits of bringing strength from other areas of life, like hobbies and family, into your role at work.
She shared her ‘three Ps’ of practice, preparation and ‘probably right’ (leaning into positive feedback and not discounting it offhand) for boosting self-esteem.
“You don’t have to be a naturally confident person to build confidence in your role at work, and I hope these tips can help you going forward no matter what stage of your career,” she said.
Our first speaker on networking, Steer Director Nicola Kane, described how integral networking has been in her career journey from a shy graduate in 1999 to a role where she’s responsible for developing Steer’s client relationships in the north of England.
After conducting a poll with attendees which found many think networking is awkward and daunting, Nicola said that networking is something that requires work but can also reap big rewards in unexpected ways down the line. It’s not about collecting contacts but growing relationships.
She encouraged attendees to utilise LinkedIn, get involved in societies and groups outside of work and put the time into maintaining networks as part of good professional practice.
“I don’t think about it as a transactional thing,” Nicola said. “But just getting to know people, finding out a bit more about them and what they do, knowing at some point or another, your paths are likely to cross again. You never know where and when.”
Speaking from Connecticut, US, our third speaker Julia Wean also used her presentation to encourage women to reframe networking as something organic rather than forced.
Citing her experiences at college and in different workplaces, Julia said that networking should be about expanding work capabilities, buildings friendships and taking advantage of coincidental encounters.
“I still run into people from my networks in my first job, and I still talk to my friends from grad school.
One of her top tips was to approach networking without expecting anything from it, it can just be having fun, building friendships and getting exposed to people who are interested in the same things that you're interested in.
“It can often just be to catch up and find out what they’re up to”.
“Not every conversation will end in an identified opportunity, but it does help to build our relationship and our profile.”