By: Lia Sbisa
It’s no secret the power and benefits that networking has to offer. We’ve been told time and time again…or not, that creating a network of influential and successful people is crucial to one’s success. At a networking event, or just in a venue full of people, we all want to have that golden conversation with the biggest name in the room. It’s only natural to feel that the more people that know them, the more people they know. Your network does not stop with that one person, it extends to all of their networks as well.
As young adults making our way into the working world, and even those already well established in the workforce, it is important to make ourselves noticed and be the differentiator that radiates uniqueness. Be the person that everyone wants to network with at an event or even just at a casual get together.
Whether you’re seasoned in your extracurriculars or just starting out, being a part of something other than work or school is a great way to a) network and b) have something to bring to the table in an introductory conversation. The more you do, the more you will relate to a broader audience (not saying overload yourself).
The status you hold within a company may help your networking reputation, but it does not solely dictate how marketable your other attributes may be. Just as we learn from those top notch professionals, they learn from us. Any influential being is on the lookout for more up and coming influential beings.
If you’re a college student or newly entering the workforce, become an expert on your experiences (internships, jobs, campus news, extracurriculars). Networking with older professionals can be intimidating, but much less tricky if you can relate to an experience even on the most minimum level. If you are more established in the workforce, know a little bit about a lot of things. Nothing is more attractive than being able to hold a thoughtful conversation over something that excites your audience, even if it may not be your cup of tea. This goes for anyone and everyone: READ THE NEWS. However you choose to keep up on current events, just do it, or start doing it if you do not. It is okay to admit that you do not know much about a topic, you become more interesting when you’re interested.
As previously stated, you become more interesting when you’re interested. Just a rule of thumb (whether you want to admit it or not), everyone loves to talk about themselves. Be able to relate to a few key topics during a conversation (talk about a travel destination that you have in common, ask about the company they work for and how they got to their position). People like you more when they think you like them just as much if not more.
Do not let the relationship end with the end of a conversation. If the conversation allows, briefly share your goals for your near future and give a rough timeline of where you’ll be in the next few months and express your interest in keeping in touch. Find common ground and set up a time to check in if you have established a relationship that will last longer than just one conversation. Grab a business card and follow up the conversation with an e-mail reminding whoever it is that you enjoyed their time and throw in your favorite topic from that conversation.
Believe that you are worth meeting. Be interested. Involve yourself in things that you enjoy. Make people believe you’re worth meeting.
Children’s naive understanding of the world allows them to live and learn freely, openly and, until they begin to compare themselves to others, without judgement. I am envious of kids abilities to say whatever they feel, ask any question, and do so without fear of what others will think.
As we learn about the world and grow into teenagers and adults, we develop ideas of what is right and what is wrong based on a variety of external and internal influences. The sequence of events that happen in life will affect based on your reaction to them.
This is the same in our relationships with people. In life, people will come and go. This could be someone you fall in love with, an acquaintance, or someone who walks past you on the street. How you react and interact with these people shapes how you move about in the world.
To put it simply and hopefully not to cliche, how you view others around you stems from how you feel about yourself. If we could all remember how we felt as children perhaps we could recall the genuine simplicity of interacting with others and improve the way we view each other.
I have come up with five reasons why you wouldn’t want to judge someone before you chat with them.
Remember to love each other despite differences, ask questions if you don’t understand, and use your powers for good. At the end of the day it’s honestly so much easier.
Something to consider,
I’m a strong believer that every animal has at least one lesson to teach us on our journey. Here are the lessons I’ve learned so far.
Dogs: Dogs love you on your worst days. Dogs love you on your best days. Dogs love you when you yell, cry, laugh, or a combination of all three. Dogs appreciate every little thing you do for them and are the most loyal creatures we can ask for. Dogs absolutely love unconditionally. If I could change anything about dogs, I would lengthen their too-short life span without a second thought. Dogs unfortunately showed me true heartbreak. They become our best friends and a true part of our families, but they all have to leave us too soon. Dogs taught me that grief is the price we pay for love.
Cats: Cats are complex animals with complex lessons. First, I need to clarify one thing: there’s a huge difference between regular indoor cats and BARN cats. I’ve only had barn cats in my life, so I can’t write about the fluffy, declawed, clean, indoor cats. Barn cats are tough. Tough to keep alive, tough to find, tough to micro-manage. When I was little, I was continually devastated that I couldn’t smother them with love. I had a lot of barn cats. The two toughest were (by far) Luigi and Stereo. There were both black and big and ruthless. They tolerated me. As Stereo grew old, he got away from killing gophers and rabbits. He settled with killing only a few mice a day. After a while, Mom started letting him in the house. He became fond of the fireplace and became an indoor/outdoor cat (my dad will deny this.) Cats taught me that it’s okay to be tough and it’s okay to change your life and it’s definitely okay to be alone.
Chickens: If you read my first blog, you know I believe chickens are the spawn of Satan. They taught me how to run, climb fence at record speed, watch my own back, and how to forever fear something that’s 95% smaller than me. Chickens, (roosters in particular) are mean and I’m pretty sure they take pride in this. They’re pompous, rude, and did I mention mean? However, if you grew up on a ranch you know there’s really no escaping chickens. All of the other animals on the ranch started to seem pretty freakin’ nice compared to the chickens. Chickens taught me (although I was reluctant to learn anything from them) you have to live with the bad to appreciate the good.
Fish: Everything dies, or does it? I’ve had a goldfish for 10 years. 10. I won him at the carnival, but he was kind of a burden on the rides so I put him down in the shade. When I came back a few hours later, he was no longer in the shade. The bag was scalding hot and he didn’t look so good. I took him home and put him in my aquarium. He was apparently fine because it only took him a few days to eat all of my other fish. After about a year, my mom told me I had to get him out of the house because he was weirdly big and creeped her out. After a while of struggling with ethics and personal moral values, I decided to dump him in the horse trough on a really cold day. I remember this because I was pretty sure he was going to get belly-up within a few hours. He didn’t. Unfortunately, he’s still alive and well and won’t die. Ever. He swims kinda crooked and turned pure white, but he seems as happy as if he had good sense. His name is Carni.
Horses: My friend Codi Uecker once summed up the most important lesson horses were able to teach me over the course of 22 years. She wrote, “I think about all of our successes and all of our failures. It never mattered which occurred, just that we did it together. The number of failures we earned only made our time of triumph that much greater.” This is how it always has been and always will be. Always.