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Summer School: Take your networking skills to the next level

Written on Jun 15, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

School’s out, but class is in session this summer when it comes to learning new ways to grow your career. Stay tuned over the next few months for more help on becoming a more well-rounded professional! 

Networking might feel like a dirty word to some, but it’s essential to building a sustainable career.   

“It really becomes important from a business perspective because it helps us develop new clients, new connections and what’s important for us personally,” said Lindsay Stevenson, chief transformation officer at BPM.  

Stevenson said even the term “networking” can make people uncomfortable because some associate it with transactional relationships and trading business cards. Instead, she said she prefers to think of the process as relationship-building.  

Networking has been an area that the pandemic has impacted as many events shifted to hybrid or virtual over the past few years. While this shift changed how relationships are built, she said it’s important to be comfortable meeting people both in person and virtually.  

It can be more work to maintain connections virtually, she said, as you have to be more intentional about your interactions since you’re not running into people in the office.  

“It’s important that we have the opportunity to be together in the same physical space; however, it’s not the only way we can build relationships,” she said. “it’s more of an ‘and’ relationship than ‘or’ relationship.” 

Stevenson said it’s crucial to focus on what happens after meeting someone new to create an authentic relationship.   

For those intimidated by meeting new people, she said setting a goal of making one or two genuine connections is a good place to start.  

“You don’t need to spend time … power networking,” she said. “Instead, focus on meeting a few people you have a connection with and nurture that.”  

Check back next week to learn about choosing the right events to make connections and staying true to yourself throughout the process. 

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