Lesson 12: Get ready to rumble!

Today’s the day! The last assignment in your 30 Day Networking Challenge. (Hey, we finished early! I’m a little sad to see it end, but all good things do.)

I hope that you’ve felt stretched to try new approaches to networking, and have grown a little more confident. This is a skill that’s worth practicing your whole life long — after all, meeting new people and helping them out doesn’t stop when you retire.

Today I’m going to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone, and check out a networking event.

Not just business cards and cocktails.

I know, I know. Networking events might sound boring or heinous, or both. A bunch of people scanning the room, always looking for the most powerful or important person they can find.

Yuck.

But you don’t operate that way. You’re not there to build power or prestige. You’re just going to see who you can meet, share what you know, and learn more about your industry. Like-minded people will gravitate to that openness.

So don’t sweat it. Success is showing up, and having a real conversation.

Where to go?

I find worthwhile events a couple of different ways. Word of mouth is always great — if you know any social butterflies, ask them about what events might be good for you.

I also like to use Meetup to find industry events. Often these will include a talk or a panel, so it’s not just strangers mixing awkwardly — there’s built-in value (and conversation fodder). Eventbrite also hosts networking events.

But perhaps the best thing to do is get clued in to your local alumni association. Alumni events are a great opportunity to meet people from different industries, all with something powerful in common — that shared school connection.

Your Assignment:

Find a networking event that looks interesting. Put it on your calendar. Don’t chicken out at the last minute (you’ve got this.) Read this blog post for tips on how to keep the conversation going, and download this printable question card if you want a cheat sheet.

Extra credit: Subscribe to your local alumni association mailing list. And of course, keep an eye out for cool alums on BrightCrowd.

Best,
T.J.

Next week: We’ll think back on what we learned. With tears in our eyes and a song in our hearts, perhaps?