This morning I attended a very educational event, Networking Bootcamp, put on by the Atlanta Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT). The speaker was Debbie Rodkin, Executive Director of re:FOCUS on Careers.
Two interesting things: 1) although I was the only person NOT affiliated in any way with AWRT, they had opened it to the public which I thought was great. Next month they are featuring a meeting on “Reverse Mentoring,” which is where the younger people mentor the older people in technology and social media. What a great idea and I’d love to attend that meeting for the sole purpose of gauging its effectiveness and attendee reactions. 2) The speaker, Debbie, has a full-tie job in addition to her Executive Director job at re:FOCUS. I asked how she managed her time effectively and she said that she averages about four hours of sleep per night. WOW.
Here are some notes I took from this morning:
-show up early, act as a host and greet others coming in. Use the time to mentally prepare what you want to get out of the meeting.
-what is the purpose for being there? For every event you should know why you’re there, who you want to meet, etc.
-small talk: use this to influence the conversation; make it about the other person and have questions ready. A GREAT question to ask in the course of a conversation is “what would be a good referral for you?” I have been asked this a few times recently and it really takes the conversation to the next level and reflects very well on the person asking.
-make conversation about the other person, but talk about topics that interest you too.
-do not be afraid to go up to a group of people who are already in conversation. This is intimidating but can produce great, unexpected results.
-know when to disengage and move along in a polite manner
-having an elevator pitch is extremely important; people cannot help you unless you can clearly communicate what you do
-don’t leave the follow-up to others; be proactive and touch base as soon as possible before life and work get in the way. **** This is a crucial, much-overlooked part of networking****
-be in the know and position yourself as a resource.
To sum up, I attend a lot of events around Atlanta and network quite a bit – I highly recommend this seminar and the useful takeaways that can be applied immediately.