I’m writing this after attending a journalism convention in Minnesota. And yes, there are other black people in Minnesota.Lol! The conference provided unique workshops about advanced journalism techniques, building your brand and other professional development courses. ZZZzzzz! Let’s be honest, most people were there for the parties and to network with hiring managers from the industry’s top companies. Let the awkward smiles and conversations begin!
“I’m a hustler baby, I can sell water to a well” – Jay Z ( U Don’t Know)
Networking is similar to the sales business. You are a product and you want other people to invest. Mastering this skill can land you a better job or boost your business. During the convention, I had the pleasure of being a part of as well as observing networking fails and successes.
Being Too Aggressive/Over Confident: It’s good to be passionate about your work. But you want to avoid coming off like a used car salesman.
Being Too Passive: Hey Wallflower! It’s a networking event don’t be afraid to talk with people. These types of events can be intimidating. If you’re nervous, find someone else who is standing alone and start a simple conversation like “Nice turnout, have you been here before?”.
Ask questions: Learning about other people can lead to a more engaging conversation and leave a positive impression. Find out what the other person’s interests are and the commonalities you have. Have some go-to questions ready. “How did you get interest in this field?”. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.
Follow up: Keep in touch with people you connect with. Send an email a day or two after the networking event. In it, mention something specific you discussed to let the person know you were paying attention.
In addition, make sure to always have business cards. Please dont write your information on a napkin.
Power of Networking
We’ve heard it countless times: Career advancement is as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important. So don’t be afraid to attend events, socialize and pitch your most valuable product – YOU.