Networking

"Networking is not about just connecting people. It's about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities."

Michelle Jennae, American writer
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This Business English ESL lesson plan on networking has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Networking means searching for new connections and relationships. This can be extremely useful for career progression, and equally as useful for businesses to be successful. These days, there are many specialist networking events to find these new contacts, either for your profession or for your market sector. In this Business English lesson plan on networking, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the importance of networking and networking strategies.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

INC | How to Network Effectively

The article explains the importance of networking for business and gives a number of pieces of advice to do this effectively, including how to use social media and LinkedIn, consulting your friends and family, and taking advantage of conferences and other work events. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they can add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk called “How to Hack Networking” which gives advice on networking, especially by taking advantage of the people you already know.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including how the students use their networks, the best places to go to network, and how technology can help with networking.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with business networking such as mingle, icebreaker and hit someone up. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about networking. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as people who seem to be connected to everyone, how to follow up on a contact, and how to make a good first impression.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write an email outlining a plan for a networking event. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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