Defence Industry Networking: Why You Need To Nail It

By Sophie Richards on 28 April 2021

Defence Industry Networking: Why You Need To Nail It

Networking is important for all career pathways, and in the tightly knit defence industry, it’s crucial. With a relatively small workforce considering its strategic significance and close ties to the Australian Defence Force, building connections in this industry is essential for professional growth and opportunity.

To help nail the craft of networking, we’ve outlined three tips.

1. Prior preparation prevents… (you know the rest)

Networking, especially with high-level industry professionals, can be daunting, so it’s important to make sure you’re well-informed about what’s going on. Understanding the backgrounds of the individuals you plan to meet, familiarising yourself with their companies, and staying informed about industry trends and developments can greatly enhance your confidence and engagement during interactions.

Set clear goals for what you want to achieve from the networking event. Whether it is meeting a certain number of people, learning something new about the industry or finding collaboration opportunities. Having these objectives will help you stay focused at the event.

Prepare a compelling elevator pitch to introduce yourself and highlight your key skills and/or accomplishments. For more on how to craft an elevator pitch check out our blog – Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch: A Personal Touch for Lasting Impressions.

2. Small talk can go a long way

Start with open-ended questions that invite others to share more about themselves. Try questions like: "What brings you to this event?" and "How did you get started in this industry?". It shows that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them.

It is good to find common ground, ask questions about interests or experiences that you can bond over. Whether it's a shared passion for a particular hobby, a mutual connection, or a similar professional background, finding common ground can help establish rapport and make the conversation more enjoyable for both parties.

While small talk can cover a range of topics, it's important to keep the conversation positive and professional, especially in a networking setting.

3. Follow up is key

Following up after initial meetings is essential for nurturing relationships. Whether it’s scheduling further meetings or having follow-up phone calls, maintaining communication helps solidify connections. Taking the time to meet face-to-face over coffee can significantly strengthen professional relationships, fostering trust and collaboration in the industry. Also, connecting on LinkedIn allows for easy follow ups and continuing to keep the connection growing.

Building a strong relationship is key to a successful career in the defence industry, so make sure you put your best foot forward at your next networking event.

Looking for an upcoming networking event to get you started? Here are some of our suggestions:

** This blog has been updated in 2024 to reflect more recent defence industry trends.

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