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The Networking World We Live In. Alexandra Rice. Executive Director Specialist Commercial Banking. Networking: you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Definition: “To network is to share points of interest between 2 or more people” (A Rice, 2012)

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alexandra rice

The Networking World We Live In

Alexandra Rice

Executive DirectorSpecialist Commercial Banking

networking you keep using that word i do not think it means what you think it means
Networking: you keep using that word.I do not think it means what you think it means


“To network is to share points of interest between 2 or more people”(A Rice, 2012)

Why does that matter?

  • It doesn’t …
  • … as long as you don’t need to interact withanyone else in order to be successful

Why I am here?

“I’m not into networking. I can’t do it. I’m lousy at small talk and I don’t know anything about football”

(A Rice, 2000)

charting the course of a reluctant networker
Charting the course of a reluctant networker

So what changed in those 12 years? [Now pay attention, there will be a test later on]

What influences have shaped my opinions on networking?

University: History degree, discovered rowing

1st Company: Management consultant following an ad in The Times

2nd Company: Hired by the client, sponsored to do an MBA

3rd Company: Hired off MBA course, head hunted into Barclays Corporate

4th Company: Friend recommended me to a head hunter for a job at Coutts

This conference: Was asked by a client if I’d speak at this event - so here I am






reflecting on all those lucky breaks
Reflecting on all those Lucky Breaks

Lucky breaks? Or an awful lot of networking?

The latter, subconsciously

reflecting on all those lucky breaks1
Reflecting on all those Lucky Breaks

Observations on Networking

Everyone networks all the time. Some of us are aware of it, some of us less so

Pause for breath! Networking efficacy increases the more you listen

Ice-breaking is a necessary part of networking. Use it to create a “hook”

Networking is like any other skill: the more you practise it, the better you get

  • All friends were strangers once
  • Activity driven by prospect of reciprocal gain
  • Talking about football or any other sporting activity is “small talk” or icebreaking
  • The clue is in the name
  • There is no one correct networking style, it adapts to suit the situation and people within it
  • Listen for at least 50% of the time and modify your approach to suit the situation
work out why you want to do it what you have to offer and what your game plan is
Work out why you want to do it, what you have to offer, and what your game plan is

Networking 101







Be memorable … in a good way

Stay focussed

Know your USP

Select the right channel

Find common interest

Maintain your new knowledge

  • Before you engage, know how you want to be remembered
  • First impression non verbal basics: appearance, body language / bearing
  • Verbal cues: vocabulary, accent, grammar
  • Career opportunities
  • Learning opportunities
  • Business development ideas and sales leads
  • Opportunities for collaboration
  • Or just collecting interesting people
  • You’re a chocolate bar, what does your wrapper say?
  • What you can do?
  • Who you work for?
  • What/who you know?
  • Formal or informal?
  • Verbal or written?
  • Occasion or BAU?
  • Planned or chance?
  • Always be professional
  • Find a common interest to build rapport
  • Active inquiry, but not an inquisition
  • Share something, at the appropriate level
  • Listen, actively
  • Deliver on commitments. Better to under-promise and over-deliver than vice versa
  • Courteous response times to emails / calls
  • Manage your contacts file
  • A poor memory could become your weakest link. Have a Plan B
active listening test or why you don t need to know anything about football
Score yourself out of 10

8 – 10: Active listening genius: consider a career change into Sales or MI5/6

5 – 7: Good listening skills: how good are you at asking questions?

2 – 4: Room for improvement: practice improves your information retention rate

< 2: I bored you into a sleep state, otherwise consider working on your listening skills

Active Listening Test(or why you don’t need to know anything about football)


* I cheated: consider why the “old school tie” mattered. Common interests can be seen as well as heard

so what happens next
So what happens next?

Go forth from this place and network like your career depended on it

I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed

Good Luck!


Alexandra RiceExecutive Director Specialist Commercial Banking

  • Please feel free to contact me via Linked In
  • Coutts Commercial provides the full range of banking products and services to companies from all sectors where the owners, investors and / or management team are either existing Coutts private clients, or who meet our Private Banking and Wealth Management criteria
  • Coutts Commercial benefits from sector specialist bankers in the following areas: Hotels, Healthcare, Insurance, Media, Professional Practices and Real Estate