External training isn’t just an opportunity to develop new skills, learn the latest best practice techniques or even venture into a completely new field of law. It’s also an opportunity to ‘network’, and in an age where reaching out and communicating with new people is more important than ever before, it can be a crucial part of your career development too.

While in-house training offers you all the advantages of individually focussed advancement within an environment that you’re familiar and comfortable in, it’s sometimes better to take yourself out of your ‘comfort zone’ and into a new environment if you want to push yourself that little bit further. Invariably, there will be people you have never met before on an external training course, but once all those awkward introductions are out of the way, the real personal development can get started!

How does networking benefit you?

If you’re new to the profession, then your ‘people skills’ may not be as well developed as someone who has confidence and years of experience to back them up. However, as the law is very much a face-to-face profession where your ability to interact with other people will determine how successful you are, getting as much practice as possible (or ‘facetime’ as it’s becoming known!) is essential to honing those inter-personal skills that you will need. A training environment allows you to talk to people within your own profession and learn how to interact on a professional level with your peers.

It could also open doors, especially if you make the right first impression. There’s a reason why ‘business breakfasts’ and lunches are so popular – it gives professionals the chance to put their skills on display and hopefully build beneficial and lasting bonds with others that could develop into strong working relationships further down the line. Essentially, networking gives you the chance to sow the seeds of future successes, and a training seminar is an ideal opportunity to do exactly that.

Learning from the experiences of others

Networking at external training seminars is also a chance to learn from the experiences of your fellow trainees, especially if you are new to the field. It’s not only the official trainer who can pass on the benefit of their experience and wisdom, but your fellow delegates too. You may even find that you have something to offer in return, and the exchange of information can be as important as the lesson plan itself.

Networking can also help your company, by building strong links between firms that can result in lasting and mutually beneficial professional relationships. The saying ‘it’s not just what you know, but who you know too’ is a good one to refer to in situations like this, and forming strong networking links early in your career could help you climb the professional ladder that little bit easier later on.

So never underestimate the importance of ‘pressing the flesh’ at a training seminar – you never know whom you are going to meet and what influence they could have in your future career.

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