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Thursday, October 3, 2013

The power of connections: How one encounter led to a trip to meet with Google and Facebook

Group networking from NetSquared Social Media Surgery event at Hootsuite
From our NetSquared Social Media Surgery for nonprofits

I've been answering phone calls all day, skipped lunch and running to my next meeting. The day isn't over and I'm tired already. Looking at my calendar to see when my day is over, I notice that it wont be anytime soon. I've scheduled a networking event in Vancouver after work but if I go I'm not going to be home til 9:00 pm... 

This is where I start having an internal debate with myself. Why should you make time to go to a networking event ?

Because you can get lucky 

I go to these networking events because they can be like the lottery. Networking can be like the lottery where the next person you meet is your ticket to the opportunity of your dreams. If you don't play, your chances of winning are zero for sure.

Recently we received an email from one our attendees at our NetSquared events. Wow, what a story about the power of connections between people.

"I've been super busy starting my social website for community sharing but the last few months is been a pretty amazing journey. From attending a Net Tuesday event I connected with someone from Car Surfing which started the conversation that had me end up meeting with companies like Google and Facebook in San Francisco the same time as the "finding your story" event. I was also just confirmed to speak at We Day Vancouver on October 18. That one simple Net Tuesday night has done a lot for me!"

-Daniel Dubois, Director at The Collaborative Project

Here are the top 3 excuses I hear for networking:

1) No one wants to talk to me

The thing about networking events is that you go there to talk to people you don't know. So if you see people and you don't know who they are, thats great ! They are coming to this networking event for an opportunity to meet you.

What has made me feel like no one wants to talk to me is when I start getting  "meeting stranger anxiety". A few weeks ago I was at a womens networking event and as soon as I entered realized I was quite literally the only guy among the crowd. As my friend who came later on the evening remarked,  "You have the shortest hair here".

I was having "meeting strangers anxiety" and knew it was in full force when I started noticing my own nervous habits. So I stayed away in a corner to relax and gather my nerves. As I observed the crowd I started to notice that the women here were fidgeting and nervous about meeting other people too ! 

Meeting strangers anxiety is very normal and when you go to a networking event they are probably as nervous as you. By taking the initiative in introducing yourself, your doing whomever you speak to a favor !

2) I don't know where to find information about networking events

Google is your friends, there are networking events being held all the time. If you need a place to start I would check out your local chamber of commerce for their list of events in the business community. You can also check your industry association that you belong to who would have events every now and then as well. Lastly, you can always take a look at meet up groups(Check out mine!) where you will find more then just business events to go to. 

3) I don't have time.

It's probably because you're not making time. You are probably viewing networking as work, but the best networking is when you have fun and enjoy yourself. Why not mix networking with learning and attend educational meet ups like the ones I organize ? There are also social events focused on getting together for lunch with someone new or sports as well, although not as often.

Networking workshop with Stevie

There are a lot of benefits to networking especially when it comes to your career. I'm hosting a free workshop next week teaching people the framework and techniques I use when it comes to creating your own professional network. If you feel like you want a bit more education about how to do it before venturing out then you should come to my workshop.

Link to workshop on professional networking and Linkedin

By Stevie Vu

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