Tag Archives: Professional Development

Networking Advice for the Next Generation

maxresdefault

Photo by: jessiconde

I spoke to a group of university students studying public relations last week. The students all had an interest in entertainment, special events and sports so the journalism school offered a panel of guest speakers to discuss these types of careers. The program started with a moderator asking questions and then we finished with a question and answer session.

I enjoyed participating in the panel. The students had great questions and were very engaged. During the question and answer session one student asked about networking. He is a DJ that specializes in a very specific type of music. I could tell he was passionate about his work. He said he was occasionally in situations where he was building relationships with contacts at parties, but often the next day he would regret what he did or said because he had been drinking. This young man’s situation is not rare, especially in the service and entertainment industry. These things are bound to happen unless you take extra precautions and know your limits.

This was the networking advice I gave him…

  1. Protect Your Reputation

Do whatever you can to protect your reputation. Then I went on and explained how when I was growing up my mother told me I had a midnight curfew because nothing good happens after midnight. I could see his eyes about to burst out of his head at the thought of a midnight curfew, so I recommended he give himself a curfew around 2:00 a.m., which isn’t bad in this 24-hour town. He is a DJ so it is important for him to be out networking, but it is also important for him to leave before all the drama goes down and people start acting crazy. If people perceive you to be a partier that has too much fun, they won’t perceive you to be a smart expert in your field. Perception becomes reality. People fail to realize how important reputations are to being successful.

  1. Be Genuine

There is so many fake people in the world today, it is exacerbated and encouraged by social media and reality television. People can tell if you aren’t genuine. There is a certain sixth sense that most people have that allows them to tell when someone is fake. If you want to build good working relationships and your network you need to keep it real. This doesn’t mean you should over share, it just means you need to be authentic so people will get to know the real you. People like helping and doing business with people they know and trust.

  1. Diversify your Network

Don’t just network at parties and industry events. Every person you meet has something to add to your life. It is important to have a broad network with people from many different fields. Grow your network to include people with different backgrounds, ages, races, religion, political views, special interests and hobbies. You wouldn’t believe how many opportunities I’ve had because a friend mentioned me to a business acquaintance, friend or family member. I recommend joining clubs and pursuing hobbies that will introduce you to people from different circles. Life Lesson: Don’t just make friends at “da club.”

These are just a few words of wisdom shared with the journalism students. I appreciated the student asking such a direct question about networking. One piece of advice that I wish I would have hit harder is to keep an open mind while developing your network. Keeping an open mind and meeting different people in different situations will introduce you to new possibilities you never dreamed of, and will help you grow as a professional. This is a life lesson that once learned can really make a difference.

Looking to improve your networking skills?
Check out this article from Inc.Com.
7 Networking Tips for Introverts, Extroverts, and the Socially Awkward

Know any young people that could use this advice?  Please share this post with them by using the handy social media buttons below.


One Shot at Integrity

Merriam-Webster IntegrityI have a confession to make… I’m a reality show junkie. I can’t help it. I am addicted. I admit I watch some of the dumbest shows on TV, and I enjoy them! My favorite part of watching reality TV is finding that small morsel of valuable content. The life lesson, the ethical dilemma, the cultural significance, the hidden leadership and management skills are what I’m hunting for when I watch reality TV. It is like “Where’s Waldo?” but instead it is “Where is the hidden lesson?” It is amazing what you find sometimes under the surface when watching these shows, which is why I’m a fan of several shows on Bravo TV and E! Television.

One of my newest guilty pleasures is watching Below Deck on Bravo TV. Right before finals last winter, they had an episode marathon. I needed some downtime and a pick me up, so I watched a whole day of the show. I love boating so I found myself captivated by the boat and crew. I also found so many delicious morsels of content that I was then hooked.

Eros - Below Deck Yacht

Photo Credit: bitchbybravo.com

The leader on Below Deck is Captain Lee. He is an old school, call it how you see it, pull no punches kind of guy. Service is the number one priority on his yacht, and if you screw up he isn’t shy about calling you out. He also has strong leadership skills and builds a great crew culture during the season. He has integrity and leads by example. Captain Lee is a great character! He always has the best comments and assessments of situations. His advice is right on target. He is so eloquent with his words of wisdom that fans have gone to the internet to document his comments as Captain Lee-isms.

Check out this hilarious Below Deck promo video!

This week I finished watching the most recent season and last night I watched Part 2 of the Reunion Special. Captain Lee shared one of the best life lessons ever during the show. He said “You have only one shot at integrity.” Isn’t that the truth!?! Think of how many people are missing this basic concept in life. Integrity and trust go hand-in-hand. It is all about being honest and fair. I’ve been reflecting on his message a lot today and how it relates to being a professional.

If you don’t act honestly or fairly you can damage your reputation and not get a second chance. Once you make an impression it can stick. When it comes to business deals and relationships there is a lot of value in your integrity. It is incredibly important. Your relationships can often make or break you in business, especially in the special event production industry. No one wants to work with someone they can’t trust that doesn’t have integrity. You either have it, or you don’t.

So there you go. I may be addicted to reality TV shows, but at least I can find the life lessons buried in the fluff.

Like what you’ve seen? Subscribe to Mad About Events Blog by adding your email address to the form on the right. You’ll be the first to read about local events and get behind-scenes-stories about my life as a special events and entertainment director.


%d bloggers like this: