By: Lee Boyland I just recently attended a workshop – the last of a six-part series geared toward newer designers in the industry. This last session was on networking. When the guest speaker asked what came to mind when we all thought of networking, some replies were “lots of people in suits,” “business cards,” “LinkedIn” and as may come to mind for many, “anxiety.” It seems like the fear of the unknown presents itself when one thinks of networking events. However, no matter how much you may dread attending a networking event, nine times out of 10, as I learned today, people felt positive about attending in the end. What I also learned from this workshop were some tips to help you think more positively about networking:
- Make a goal of making at least one new connection. This could be someone you know will be attending that you’ve wanted to introduce yourself to for awhile, or it could be someone you come across for the first time at the event.
- Have a “pocketbook of ammunition” ready—a few questions you can ask whomever you meet that can turn into a conversation.
- Know your brand—what makes you stand out from the others. This could be a great smile (example used in workshop), your confidence, etc.
- Generosity. Another person facilitating the workshop posed the question “What is the single word that is the secret to success?” The answer (you guessed it): generosity. What may be most memorable about a person throughout his or her career is how far he or she will go to help others succeed. This lends itself toward generous networking. The most memorable thing about a person is generosity. Your generous actions will go far in the minds of those you impact. Some of the ways in which people are generously networking is through introducing people to each other who then form a new working relationship.
Networking is a very powerful thing and has gotten many of us where we are today. Some questions I pose to you: – What successes in your career can be attributed to networking? – Do social media networking sites offer the same capabilities as networking in person?