Skip main navigation

Top 10 networking courses: Build a professional network

Whether you are looking to expand your professional network or learn how to build and maintain relationships with clients, our top networking courses can help.

A group of professionals learn networking skills

Networking is one of the most important skills needed in today’s job market. No matter what field you’re in, the chances are you’ll need to be able to network effectively to make connections within your industry and progress in your career. 

The good news is that there are plenty of great resources out there, including networking courses, to teach you how to network better. In this article, we delve into the world of networking in more detail and explore the best networking courses to help you make the most of your opportunities.

What is networking?

Networking is the process of connecting with other people in your field or industry. This can be done in person, through online platforms, or by attending events or workshops.

Networking can be beneficial for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, it can help you build relationships, learn new information and make connections that lead to new opportunities.

For businesses, networking can help to build brand awareness, generate new leads, and create opportunities for collaboration. Regardless of why you choose to network, the important thing is to be authentic and genuine in your interactions. When done correctly, networking can be a powerful tool for building relationships and achieving success. Want to learn more? Watch this networking 101 video to get started.

Networking skills

The ability to network effectively is a valuable skill to have for both your professional career and personal life. If you’re looking to improve your networking skills, there are a few key areas you should focus on:

Public speaking skills

Public speaking skills are important for anyone who wants to be an effective networker. The ability to speak in front of an audience, whether it’s a small group or a large one, can help you share your ideas and thoughts in a clear and confident manner. Learn more about the art of public speaking in our article.

It can also help you make connections with others and build relationships — while making your presence known within your industry. While some people seem to be natural-born public speakers, others may feel like they could use a little help in this area. And even if you have the basics, continuing professional development in this area can only be a good thing.

Presentation skills

In addition to public speaking skills, presentation skills are also important for networking. Whether you’re presenting your business to a potential client or giving a talk at an industry event, being able to deliver a clear and concise presentation can help you make a good impression and build relationships.

It will also make it easier for people to remember who you are and what you do, both of which are important for business networking. You can learn how to present your work with impact in our course by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding.

Interpersonal skills

This includes both verbal and nonverbal communication. Communicating effectively with others — whether in person or online — can help you build relationships and make connections.

Emotional intelligence, or the ability to read and understand other people’s emotions, is a key interpersonal skill. It can help you resolve conflicts and create rapport with others. 

Active listening is also important when it comes to interpersonal skills, as you’ll often be meeting new people and hearing about their businesses or projects. Paying attention and being interested in what they have to say will mean they’re more likely to remember you and want to stay in touch.

Developing your interpersonal skills as a whole can become useful whenever you’re networking, whether you’re networking at university or at a trade fair.

Learn how to network

If you’re looking to develop your networking skills, there are plenty of ways to do so. Here are a few of the best ways you can learn to network and improve your abilities in this area.

Connect with people

One of the easiest ways to network is to connect with people online. This can be done through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, or by joining online forums or groups related to your industry. 

When connecting with people online, it’s important to be authentic and genuine in your interactions. Don’t try to sell yourself or your business. Instead, focus on building relationships and learning about what others do.

Attend networking events

Another great way to network is to attend events in person and online. There are often networking events specifically for businesses or industries, which can be a great way to meet new people and make connections.

Check out local events, such as business conferences or trade shows, that are relevant to your industry. If you’re not able to attend events in person, you may well be able to attend virtually. 

Share information

When you’re networking, it’s also important to share information about your business or project. This way, people can learn more about what you do and potentially develop an interest in working with you.

When sharing information, it’s important to be strategic. Focus on sharing high-quality content that will be of interest to your target audience. This could include blog posts, articles, infographics, or even just brief updates about what’s going on with your business. 

For example, sharing your thoughts on LinkedIn with a well-thought-out blog can be a way to network to improve your career as you may get noticed by potential employers.

Take networking courses

If you want to improve your networking skills, there are also a few courses you can take to learn how to network effectively. They can teach you how to effectively connect with others and develop key skills such as public speaking and presentation skills. 

Online networking courses also give you a chance to practice in a safe and supportive environment, giving you the confidence you need to network more effectively in the future.

Top 10 networking courses

Here are our top 10 networking courses to improve your skills and help you build better personal and business relationships.

1. Starting a Business 2: People and Networks by the University of Leeds

Are you an entrepreneur looking to start a business or take your existing enterprise to the next level? Find out about the importance of networks and how they can help you achieve success in this two-week course. 

You will learn about different types of networks, how to build them, and how to use them to further your career. Read our How to start a business: people, customers and competitors blog to learn more about startups and business networks.

2. Personal Trainer’s Toolkit: Build a Health and Fitness Business Network by CQ University

Personal training is a great way to help people achieve their health and fitness goals, but it’s not just about working out. You also need to have strong business skills to build a successful practice – from marketing your services to building a client base and managing your finances.

With a few strategies in place, you can identify and approach potential collaborators, develop relationships, and negotiate successful partnerships.

3. Sisterhood Works: How to Build a More Meaningful Network by Allbright

The power of a supportive network shouldn’t be underestimated – especially when it comes to women in business. As a female entrepreneur, it can be hard to find mentors, collaborators and role models who understand the unique challenges women face. 

But there is strength in numbers, and by working together, women can create a force for good. This course will show you how to build a more meaningful network of professional women so you can collaborate, learn and grow together. Why not read our tips for female entrepreneurs post-COVID to learn more about how this translates in the current climate?

4. Social Network Analysis: The Networks Connecting People by the University of Groningen 

Social media has transformed the way we communicate, but it’s also given rise to a new type of data that can be used to understand human behaviour – social network analysis.

In this course, you’ll be introduced to social network analysis, a powerful tool for understanding the relationships between people. Learn how to collect and analyse data on networks, and find out how to use this information to improve your own networking strategies.

5. Building Effective Professional Networks and Relationships by CQ University

A professional network is a great asset, but it doesn’t just happen by itself. You need to learn how to build and maintain effective professional relationships, so you can create a strong network of contacts who can help you in your career. 

Find out how to identify potential contacts, approach them, and nurture the relationships over time in this short, two-week course by Central Queensland University.

6. Learning in the Network Age by the University of Southampton

The network age is here, and it’s transforming the way we learn. In fact, the digital space has become a key place for interaction, scholarship and creativity. On this course, you’ll be taught how to learn effectively in the network age. 

You’ll learn about the different types of networks, how to use them to support your learning, and how to find and connect with experts. This will equip you with the skills you need to thrive in a networked world, and you’ll be better equipped to take advantage of the many opportunities that come with it.

7. Become a Better Presenter: Improve Your Public Speaking Skills by the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Public speaking is a key networking skill – – it can help you build relationships, raise your profile and promote your business. Plus, good public speaking skills show that you’re confident and capable, which can make people more likely to want to work with you. 

On this course, you’ll learn how to overcome your nerves, structure your presentations, and deliver them with confidence. You’ll also get the chance to practice your new skills in a safe environment. Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to delivering speeches and presentations.

8. People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics by the University of Groningen

Social dynamics are the patterns of behaviour that emerge from the interactions between people. The ability to identify and analyse the patterns of social interaction is a valuable skill, as you can use this knowledge to improve your own networking strategies. 

This course will introduce you to the concepts of social dynamics, and show you how to apply them in your own life. This can result in more efficient and effective networking and improved relationships with the people you network with. 

9. Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business by the University of Southampton

Contracts are an essential part of business, but they’re not just about delivering products and services. They’re also about building relationships – with clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders. 

Learning how to identify and approach potential contacts, develop relationships, and negotiate successful contracts is essential to retaining business. Discover everything you need to know about contract management in this three-week course by the University of Southampton.

10. Business Etiquette by the Swiss Education Group

Without good manners, networking is impossible. With this course, you will find out the business etiquette and social skills you need to network effectively. It’s important to note that business etiquette also goes beyond good manners – it’s about building relationships and gaining the trust of others. 

So, you’ll learn how to introduce yourself, start conversations, and make a good impression by conducting yourself with poise and elegance. You’ll also learn how to dress and behave in a variety of business settings, from conferences to casual networking events. 

Final thoughts

Networking is an essential skill for any business professional. By taking courses and expanding your network, you’ll open up new opportunities for your career and your business.

Whether you’re looking to build relationships with potential collaborators or customers, or you’re seeking a more meaningful network of support, these networking courses can help you achieve your goals. Get started today and see where the power of networking can take you.

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education

Related stories on FutureLearn