I can proudly say that I am no longer a networking virgin.
Part of my “economic-recovery plan” (i.e., finding a job) includes taking advantage of networking events. I belong to the Business Professionals of Greater Harrisburg & Central PA LinkedIn group, but had not yet attended one of their mixers. I took the plunge, attending my first event on June 25, 2014.
Being the organized person that I am, prior to the mixer, I researched how to get the most value out of a networking event. I found a great suggestion – find a role for yourself at the event. So I grabbed my camera and offered to photograph the event, post the pictures on my website, and link to it on LinkedIn. It’s a win-win by hopefully driving traffic to my website and increasing interest in the mixers.
David Bruno, Account Manager, Guernsey – The Workplace Source, graciously and enthusiastically hosted the mixer at Guernsey’s offices in Middletown with approximately 30 people attending. About halfway through, David talked about Guernsey’s services, and his colleague, Tim, described the product samples available for attendees (Kresto Cherry Extra Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner and Stokolan Classic Cream Moisturizer). Next were quick “round-robin 30-second elevator speeches” and introductions from each of the attendees. On either side of these introductions, the attendees engaged in lively conversations.
Networking Time: Conversations & Connections
I apologize in advance to those whose names I didn’t get for the photos or if I misidentified you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will update the page with your information. If you would like me to link to your company website, provide me with that URL also.
My Review/Final Thoughts
David Bruno compared the advantages of participating in the Business Professionals of Greater Harrisburg & Central PA group to belonging to the Chamber of Commerce, minus the membership fee. If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a group mixer, contact David at email@example.com. One of the skills not listed on my resume is teaching country line dancing, so I offer that up as an ice breaker or fun activity. Realizing you aren’t the only one with two left feet is a good way to get comfortable enough to strike up a conversation. Remember, find a role for yourself!
- There were so many interesting and friendly people to meet and chat with that I stayed longer than I thought I would. In addition to my elevator speech, I also had an early-exit strategy ready, but I didn’t need it.
- I made at least two good contacts – one of whom understands my love/hate relationship with WordPress.
- David Bruno is a charming host who genuinely wants this group to succeed through active online and in person participation.