Enhancing Your Networking Skills in the Insurance and Financial Services Industry

We know that for some people the world of networking is enough to have you running for the hills, as the thought of early morning breakfasts and stilted conversations can be off-putting. However, there are lots of friendly networking events happening up and down the country, as well as online, that give you unprecedented access to your peers and senior industry leaders often for free.

The way we engage in conversations and access networking events has undergone a profound transformation in recent times, which has lead to the democratisation of access to high-level conversations. A couple of decades ago, these types of conversations were often shrouded in exclusivity, happening behind closed doors among a select few. To be privy to such discussions was considered a privilege reserved for the elite. Fast forward to today, and the landscape has shifted dramatically.

Thanks to advancements in technology and the rise of social media networks like LinkedIn and Twitter as well as new media platforms such as podcasts, the walls that once restricted access have come crashing down. What was once confined to the boardroom is now freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

No longer is knowledge hoarded by a select few; instead, it’s being shared openly and freely with the world.

“Networking is all-encompassing… it’s all about building relationships, and whether that’s through stuff after work, whether that’s in meetings, whether that’s phone calls you’re having with colleagues internally – there’s so many different types of networking. One thing that’s really fundamental is that things are changing; people are more accessible than they ever have been, because of social media and LinkedIn. There are more networks available than ever to join. So, if you’re ever lonely, there’s a really quick way to find people.” – Ajay Mistry.

One of the ways to access this expertise is at networking events which can be a great way to meet other people in the industry, people at all stages of their careers as well as people who are more than likely going through/have been through the same experiences you’re having right now.
The trick is not to confuse networking with selling, networking is about building long-term relationships with likeminded people, getting to know people who you could help and could help you in return. By forming trusted relationships you can find help, uncover new ideas, solve problems, build confidence and gain different perspectives, all over a coffee and a chat.

This topic is one that we feel passionate about, our entire ethos at Macaii is about shining a spotlight on the incredible people in the insurance industry, and in our first podcast episode we spoke to Ajay Mistry, Co-Founder of iCAN, who is an expert in all things networking. In this episode of the Changing Conversations Podcast with Sarah Myerscough, Ajay offers his advice for approaching industry networking events, and his insights for maximising your presence on LinkedIn.

We’ve rounded up Ajay’s top tips and our own tips on getting the most out of networking, both in person and online.

How do you prepare for a networking event?

Ajay suggests that it is always key to establish a personal connection first and foremost, and not to worry about the bottom line. A mutually beneficial connection can only ever emerge from any given conversation if both parties are genuinely interested in one another and demonstrate this by actively listening to one another. Here are a couple of tips.

Have a plan. “Come to every event knowing what you want to get out of it.” Ajay suggests.

What do you want to achieve, is it to speak to one of the attendees or speakers, raise your profile or generate referrals? This can help you focus on the event and create some engaging questions to ask when you get there.

Have questions prepared. Remind yourself that most people hate networking, and that it’s just talking to other humans. A great tip to reduce the nerves is to have some pre-prepared questions for people you are meeting for the first time. For example, if you would like to join a conversation, there’s no point in just standing nearby in silence – try “Hi, I’m new here, can I join you?

Try and find out non-business facts about people, you could try.

1 – Why did you decide to come here today?
2 – Are you also from this area?
3 – Have you been here before? If so – did you find it useful?

Connect to the event on social media. If you can, it’s always useful to see a list of the attendees in advance so you can see if you already know anyone attending or see if there is anyone going that you particularly want to talk to.

How do you act at a networking event?

We find that it helps to approach each networking event with the mindset of ‘I want to help other people’, or ‘How can I give back?’, all of a sudden, the energy shifts into a more positive energy. Ajay echoes this by saying

“The world is full of abundance, not scarcity – there will always be more opportunities to network.” – Ajay Mistry.

Our two top tips are:

1 – Don’t try and sell to people, networking events are about meeting new people and building a connection that is genuine. It might be that they can help you but that shouldn’t be your first thought.

2 – Remember people’s names, when you meet new people, use their name immediately in the conversation it shows you are paying attention, and it will help you remember their name.

What should I do after a networking event?

Once the networking event has finished and the world is still spinning, it was a success and you’ve had some great conversations with new people the power now is in the follow up. Here are some of the ways to you do this in an authentic way.

– Connect with people. Follow up with people on social media – connect with them on LinkedIn and write a personal message, saying it was nice to meet them & you’d love to keep in touch or meet for a coffee to continue the conversation.

– Follow up with people by email or phone. Don’t leave it too long after the event and if you can find something valuable you can give them e.g. sharing information, whether it is a website, article, report, or phone number, this will help build your credibility.

Networking In Person or Online?

Ajay is also an expert in using LinkedIn to effectively distribute your unique message. It provides an excellent form of passive communication, by distributing your message across the feeds of all your connections and empowering them with the choice of whether to engage with it or not. Consequently, regularly posting effectively does the networking for you, even when you’re not in the room.

Using LinkedIn to talk about important topics relevant to the industry will clue your connections in to your status as a well-informed and motivated insurance professional.

During the podcast episode, Ajay also highlights employee resource groups as a great means of promoting networking within businesses. These are in-house, employee-led groups focused on a specific strand of diversity, be it ethnic minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, young industry starters, and many more. You don’t have to belong to these groups to network with them, and they can both add an extra layer to one’s job and facilitate good business in-house and in collaboration with another companies.

“[With LinkedIn] you’re giving people the choice of how they want to receive information, if they don’t want to receive it, and they don’t want to listen, that’s their choice. By putting the power in their hands, it’s very empowering for them, because they get to choose. When it comes to direct communication, it’s different. Because then you’re forcing someone to make a decision.” – Ajay Mistry.

Key Takeaways

Ajay’s podcast episode was packed full of useful tips and actionable advice, including

“Networking has always been closely associated with insurance. It is an inherently people-facing industry. Now, through LinkedIn and other social media platforms, we have immediate access to the very people we could and should be forming promising connections with, there are more networks than ever to join. This can, in one respect, make the prospect of networking feel even more mountainous and daunting than before. On the other hand, digital networking can provide a less pressurised way to get to know a potential contact before meeting them in person. It grants a platform through which an initial layer of trust and connection can be established before that first meeting where it can more organically flourish.” – Ajay Mistry.

He goes on to say…

“It’s hard to quantify but look at the people who have done very well in this industry. They’ve done it because of networking. The traditional ‘old boys’ networks, yes, they are antiquated in their viewpoints. However, they started for a reason; there’s some good best practice there in terms of people have helped each other and now they’re helping each other later on. That cycle is very important. And the more people that get in that cycle, the more that people can move forward.” – Ajay Mistry.

While it can feel icky, the opportunities to network online and in person are better than ever. This is an exciting time for people working in insurance and financial services, with more access to industry leaders, experts, and your peers in friendly and supportive environments. With great events happening up and down the country, get out there and find your next networking event.


Here is a summary of the key points from this article:

– Networking is crucial in the insurance and financial services industry as it provides opportunities to build relationships, gain new perspectives, find help, uncover ideas, and solve problems.

– While networking events can feel daunting, they give unprecedented access to connect with peers and industry leaders. The key is to approach networking as relationship building rather than selling.

– Before an event, have a plan for what you want to achieve, prepare questions to start conversations, and connect on social media to see attendees.

– At the event, focus on making genuine connections by showing interest in others, actively listening, and avoiding hard selling. Remember people’s names.

– After the event, follow up by connecting on LinkedIn, emailing, or meeting for coffee to continue building the relationship.

– LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that allows you to share your expertise and connect with your industry network passionately. Posting regularly distributes your message.

– Employee resource groups within companies provide great opportunities for internal networking around diversity and shared interests.

– Successful networking comes from consistently helping others and building trust over time through genuine relationship development.


iCAN – Upcoming Events: https://www.i-can.me/events-2
iCAN – Coffee with the CEO: https://www.i-can.me/coffee-with-the-ceo

About the Guest

Ajay Mistry is the Co-Founder of the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN), the Founder of Mode Insurance and Gambit Partners, and is a board member of the CII Broking Board.

Ajay Mistry: https://www.linkedin.com/in/1ajaymistry/

About the Host

Sarah Myerscough is the Co-Founder and Chief Ideas Officer at Macaii, formerly Boston Tullis. She hosts/co-hosts several podcasts and is known for her knack in connecting with people.

Sarah excels at highlighting the industry’s people, stories, and passion, to boost recruitment, build trust, and reshape the conversation around insurance. Fostering genuine connections between insurance communities. Sarah believes that strong partnerships, energetic engagements, and humility should be at the core of our industry.