Writing this newsletter following a weekend with 100+ developers / designers at Capital One’s Women In Tech Demo Day in Washington, D.C. #WITDemoDay — I partner with Capital One frequently and at this event in addition to tweeting and posting, I shared my networking insights on Friday evening. A hackathon is not just a hackathon. It is an opportunity to start building (or growing) a network of peers and mentors in technology. Contributing to a hack over the weekend puts your skills and abilities on full display — perhaps networking you into your next job.
Talking about networking at #WITDemoDay did raise the question of how and when we decide (or choose) to RSVP, show-up and yes, network. With so many networking choices and still only 24 hours in a given day, the key for me is to have a real networking plan, based on understanding my career goals (right here, right now) combined with some research (online, crowd-sourced or based on solid recommendations). I’ll say it again: time is short supply so I need to make networking choices that realistically connect to my desired success or…there is something else I should be doing with my time.
When you think about (or are told to) network…what do you do?
Panic or prepare or procrastinate or or or?
A few thoughts, pulled straight from Chapter 2 of Build Your Dream Network, to guide you in your networking choices:
On a daily basis (or every second, if you stop to think about it) you are faced with endless networking choices — an abundance of opportunities to connect and exchange ideas. We’re bombarded with too many opportunities (and choices between networking opportunities) most of the time.
Fear of missing out is a networking distraction and feeds into networking fears. Don’t let FOMO derail your focus!
Which is to say (again), this is why you need your (networking) WHY filter.
Asking why separates opportunity from a distracting time waste. When opportunities abound (meet-ups, Twitter chats, speed networking, reunions, summits, and seminars), how do you efficiently and quickly sort the productive from the less than productive?
Here’s the why filter I use:
- Is the opportunity aligned with my goal(s)?
- Will my participation add value to the other attendees and be valuable for me?
- Does the opportunity expand my network and/or strengthen relationships?
- What does my gut say? (Yes, I’m a big believer in trusting your gut.)
Having my why filter enables me to quickly reach yes or no decisions and to commit to networking opportunities without second-guessing FOMO. Knowing your why takes the gloss off a networking event when you realize the organizer’s goals or planning acumen do not align with the outcomes you’re seeking or connections you’re hoping to make. The why filter enables you to be confidently happy with your decision about how and when to RSVP to an event.