I was invited to speak at the Seybert Foundation's first symposium this summer about the topic of networking. I opened my presentation with this slide:
Most of the audience at the symposium were executive directors and as someone who holds a similar position, I know it can be difficult to cave out time to get up away from our desk, out of the office to "network." But I think it is hands down one of the most critical things senior staff should be doing and should be modeling for and encouraging of their junior staff.
It is safe to say that my business has been built and grown in part to networking. I think of networking as capital "N" and lowercase "n". The capital "N" networking tends to include happy-hours and industry-specific events. Lowercase "n" networking is getting together for a cup of coffee when a colleague recommends I meet someone they think I should connect with.
According to the research I did, there are 8 benefits to networking:
During the presentation, I featured several colleagues and their best networking for success stories and highlighted a few of the various benefits of networking.
Brit Campese of Vision Driven Consulting shared this:“When I first moved to Philadelphia and started my business, I took a part-time, temporary job in community engagement that was far below my standard pay grade because I saw it as a networking opportunity. The organization asked me to develop maps that identified all of the community organizations and local resource hubs in Philadelphia. I would visit them and share information about a great free resource that the organization was offering. I wasn't trying to sell my services through this job, but I was able to meet hundreds of new people at organizations in every neighborhood across the city. People began learning my name, which is REALLY important! Later, when I would meet people at events or around town, I could say I had been to their organization or knew one of their co-workers. It was a phenomenal way to build my networks.” (STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS)
Michael Imperato, Director of Postsecondary Career Development YouthBuild Charter School shared this story:"A couple of years ago I received a tear-a-day calendar as a gift and one of the days had the message “Once a month invite someone smarter than you to lunch” (attached) – I still have it on my wall today. For several months in a row I followed it and had amazing experiences just meeting some people and a few I shared this background and most were even more receptive. The most impactful part was my own learning and growth in my leadership style as a result. Over time it has evolved into a mindset to connect with different people who just seem interesting or an opportunity to learn from them. " (DEEPENING YOUR OWN LEARNING)
Sannii Crespina Flores of The Do Remember Me Project said: "I was invited to create the first panel discussion for Philadelphia Latino American Film Festival three years ago. Though my contact the panelists I developed a friendship that lead to my creating for and working with the Hip Hop Education Center. It has grown into an amazing partnership and I've learned so much. Most of my encounters/blessings happen this way-one opportunity unfolds unto many more..." (STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS)
Sheri Hope Culver, Associate Professor, Klein College of Media and Communication Department of Media Studies and Production said: "I was getting my masters at Penn. Also was serving on board of visitors at Temple (while GM @ WYBE). Received an email from the Dean about new faculty hired. Renee Hobbs. And she was someone I was reading about in my master's work. I emailed the Dean congratulations. "want to meet her?" "sure!" The Dean set up a meeting. Renee and I became friends. I had NO NO NO interest in teaching. Then, a year later when I left the TV station and sent emails to friends, Renee responded with an idea for a project and said "you should come teach at Temple and we could work together!" ...and here I am." (OPENING DOORS)
WHAT'S YOUR NETWORKING FOR SUCCESS STORY?
I'd love to know. Tweet me @RebeccaFabiano