Welcome to two new OCA members:
- Louise Matthews has an extensive marketing background, most recently in the banking and insurance industries (JP Morgan Chase/WaMu, Safeco). She's pursuing marketing positions that would utilize her branding, direct marketing, and marcomm experience.
- Scott Stracener is a process improvement & Supply Chain Management expert, with purchasing and production experience. He was most recently with Group Health and is looking to continue his career in the health care arena.
Our June 11th OCA meeting welcomed guest speaker, Sandy Jones-Kaminksi, business development consultant and networking guru. Though she's a bit reluctant to claim the title, "Guru," Sandy is increasingly being recognized for her networking talents and is the author of I'm at a Networking Event -- Now What??"
Sandy has a background in market research and broadcast media, but it's been her extensive work in business development that has honed her networking skills. After attending countless events, where she watched people flounder at making connections, she put a white paper together that led to her writing the book. Sandy genuinely wants to help others make the most of any encounter, and with networking being so important with a job search, it made perfect sense to have her in to talk with our group.
Crafting your Intro. Sandy recommends developing (and practicing) something between what she calls the "bumper sticker" (a personal tagline) and an elevator speech (your pitch). Make it memorable, and make sure you say what you're looking for. "A closed mouth does not get fed. You have to ask.") People remember company names, and as we've witnessed over and over again with OCA, it's easy to then make the connection between a company you're targeting and someone they may know at that company. Sandy put this into practice with our own group by asking everyone in attendance to name one company on which they're focusing. The conversations that followed were chock full of the phrase, "Oh, I know someone at..."
When you're at the event. Be the one to initiate the conversation. Sandy suggests the following lines as a way to get a dialogue started:
"What brought you to this event?" "What are you working on these days?" If the person you're talking to is somewhat adept at networking as well and tells you what they're looking for specifically, you can then easily jump in with, "What kind of help do you need with that?" This then leads to her next point.
"Start looking at networking as community service." People have a natural tendency to want to help each other, so why not use that notion while networking? Sandy suggests going to an event with the intention to help. In her book, she references this as the "give to get" philosophy. It also falls in line with what she calls "The Pay it Forward Approach." "... by helping [others], you can quite possibly change people's attitudes about at least a little part of their world through your unobtrusive acts of kindness."
Finally, "Never stop networking." Meetings, volunteer work, classes, etc. They are all opportunities to meet others and to help make connections. Plus, practice your networking skills by talking to people you encounter each and every day. You never know where it might lead.