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A simple “Hello” can go a long way.

Mastering Professional Networking

On 21 June 2023, I was privileged enough to attend a workshop held at Western’s brand-new Bankstown City Campus. Hosted by Lucy Lin as part of Launch Pad’s new Women & Multicultural Program, the workshop focused on the topic of ‘Mastering Professional Networking’ and the importance of developing critical skills like effective communication to create authentic connections

The event kicked off with a networking presentation from Antoinette Khalil, who discussed her personal experiences with starting her practice in a male-dominated industry. 

"I wanted to break through the stereotypes of being a mother and doing business and following my career"
Antoinette Khalil
Principal Solicitor, Khalil Lawyers

Antoinette also spoke about how she was able to seek the help of like-minded individuals from the Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) to help elevate her connections and business. By being associated with a trusted brand (like the CBCC), this helped her foster new relationships with other small businesses in her local area. Antoinette also discussed her personal tips to effectively network with others. 

A key point throughout her talk was being able to build confidence to promote yourself and your business. She went on to explain that having a consistent social media presence acts as a visual representation of where people can learn about you and your business.

Antoinette's Networking Presentation. Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson 

 The event continued with a panel session discussing multiple areas and approaches of networking from three seasoned entrepreneurs. The panel consisted of

  • Antoinette Khalil (Principal Solicitor of Khalil Lawyers and Chair of Women’s Committee CBCC)
  • Michael Azzi (CBCC member and sponsor)
  • Jeffin Johnson (Co-founder of Thinkgrid Labs)
Networking Panel (Lucy Lin, Jeffin Johnson, Antoinette Khalil, Michael Azzi). Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson 

 Main items of discussion revolved around the importance of building trust and authenticity for your business. All panellists agreed that is never easy to start networking but by identifying your businesses strengths, this will cultivate into developing genuine connections in the long-term.

"You may have the best product, best team but if you can’t get your work out there, your business can stop. But if you network, you can scale up"
Jeffin Johnson
Co-founder, Thinkgrid Labs

Ways to deepen relationships with new contacts was also discussed in the panel. A key component to this is having a clear presence on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and/or Facebook to help keep warm contacts. A simple acknowledgement or conversation can go a long way to maintaining professional courtesy and branding over time.

Networking Panel Session. Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson 

In addition to the presentation and panel session, multiple activities took place throughout the event, allowing attendees to work on their practical networking skills. This came in the form of talking to strangers and evaluating the importance of networking to themselves.

Participants Practicing Networking Skills. Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson 

The evening ended with the announcement of the $250 lucky door prize winner, courtesy to JD Sports Australia. Networking continued well after the event, where both attendees and panellists were able engage in meaningful conversations and connections.

$250 JD Sports Australia lucky door prize winner. Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson 

Having participated in last night’s event, my key takeaways were:

Learn more about the Women & Multicultural program below.

About The Women & Multicultural Program

The Women & Multicultural Program is an entrepreneurial skills training program that provides training and development skills and opportunities to attract more diverse founders and business owners into the entrepreneurship ecosystem.