When the oil and gas economy is good, networking is important. When activities also decline during periods of economic meltdown in the sector, networking is also essential.
Your network is a crucial tool for professional and business growth.
This is an industry of people doing business with people. People in the oil and gas industry prefer to do business with people they know and like. So, proper networking within this industry will go a long way to ensure your success, says Mark LaCour, the Director of Modal Point.
To drive growth to the industry, it is important to join forces, collaborate with others, openly sharing knowledge and insights for professionals and personal growth.
This article explores some tips on the right way to network in the oil and gas industry.
1. Identify your purpose for networking.
To make the most of your networking activities, you must have clear goals in mind. You must be clear of what you really want to achieve from the network.
A simple goal can be like this: “I want to learn about how to get involved in the oil and gas projects in Tanzania.”
Or it could be: “I want to learn how Shell’s recruitment system works.”
The clearer you are about what you want to achieve in your networking efforts, the more you succeed.
2. Start a conversation with great questions.
It can be a little frustrating to open a conversation with strangers. Asking questions is a great way to open a conversion. It is also a great way to build trust with people you meet during industry events, meetings and conferences.
You could start by saying:
“Where do you work?”
“How long have you been in Tanzania?”
“Is this your first time of attending this event?”
Networking is not just sending connection requests on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. It is also not just exchanging business cards and leaving, like many people do.
Once you’re given a card, treat it with care. Read it. And comment on the card. Say, “Looks like a great company.”
Avoid asking for referral, support or promotion of your services once you meet new people in your initial networking activities. It will never work out. This is because a new person you meet has two kinds of fear: fear to be taken advantage of and fear to be manipulated. Your job is to eliminate these fears in your initial conversation with a person you come in contact. And the best way is by asking questions about them.
You could start with phrases such as: What do you do? What are the biggest challenges in your work/business?
Once you ask these kinds of questions, people feel you care about them. This builds friendship and a relationship based on trust.
3. Follow up your prospects.
People are busy.
Sending a thank-you email to someone you’ve recently met at an industry networking event, such as a trade show, conference or happy hour, is a great way to build a strong professional relationship.
Say something like this:
Thank you for your offer to connect me with your business contacts.
The oil and gas industry is a people industry.
Your success in the industry depends on the relationship you build with industry people. Your ability to create and expand valuable connections within the sector will give you a better chance to get your foot in the door and unlock many opportunities.
Networking is all about helping, giving value and supporting others.