Benny Montgomery, Constituent Services Representative, has worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for the past 28 years. For the past 14 years, he has been focusing in HIV/AIDS funding for the State of Illinois. In addition to helping the state and the city of Chicago receive various grants, Ben helped to create a lottery ticket where 100% of the net proceeds benefited organizations providing HIV prevention education and services for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Joe Hoereth is Director of UIC’s Institute On Policy and Civic Engagement & Norma Ramos is the Director of Marketing and Communications.
CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE CIVIC SOURCE PORTAL AT UIC
Remember the days when you had to put on your best look, grab your business cards, the pencil & pen set with your initials on them and head to a networking event filled with people you’ve never met. This networking event, catered with wine, cheese and strategic conversation was aimed at getting a lead or a few important business cards. Networking was/is a must for developing and growing one’s business; for account acquisition, job leads or just to help one’s business succeed. Those days still exist, but our ever-changing world full of technological advances have created a new form of networking that has even brought socially shy people into the spotlight more and more each day. I know that most of you are used to the term Social Networking, but for the sake of this article we’ll call those of us caught up in online connections through various sites on the World Wide Web, Networking Socials.
There was a time when people went to coffee houses in pairs to chat about work, children, school and pets. These days chatting at the coffee-house is a slight distraction for Networking Socials; so enter signs posted on windows for the technical eye to see, “FREE WiFi“. Yes, that’s it, I (emphasis on I) will stop right here and have my coffee; my laptop, cappuccino and I can get some networking out-of-the-way. Just when you thought your battery might run out, have no fear, electric plugs are being installed in record numbers at these coffee shops. So in you go and within a matter of 10 minutes you check into as many sites that you are associated with to make sure that you have not missed an important update or an opportunity to network with a perspective contact. Finally, you are engaged and on your strategically chatting, writing way.
How Do I Manage My Time?
If you can keep your mind focused on traditional networking for just a moment, I want to remind you of the importance of those face to face networking events. If you were like me, you had a business card goal. I would say to myself, “I want to leave here tonight with 10 to 15 meaningful business cards.” Meaningful meant, I did not just collect business cards to be collecting business cards. I took time to speak with people and listen to other conversations happening around the punch table. During these conversations, I was able to meet, learn about, or be pointed in the direction of someone who can be of assistance to me and my goal for networking in the first place. This concept should be the same for Networking Socials on the World Wide Web, on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in or even via email. Listen with your eyes, yes I’ll write that again in the next sentence. Listen with your eyes. Use your eyes to do the job that your ears cannot do, unless you’re on Skype. Use your writing as your handshake to make the connection. Make sure you prepare thoughts in advance, so that you can ask the right questions and get out of the chatting, writing, and socializing exactly what you want. If you’re into sales, ask for the sale, but don’t be surprised of rejection if you haven’t been social. Social Networking, Networking Socials is about connecting and sharing information. Read carefully and don’t always be quick to respond. Offer something important, share, don’t covet information. Your reward also comes from your investment. Information is valuable and if you want to learn, you should also be willing to share.
So go on Networking Socialite, the world is one click away from meeting you. Friend somebody, follow somebody on Twitter. Your mind is your limit! Unlock Your Champion, how many contacts can you keep up with? Whatever the answer is, don’t let the fear of a face to face meeting stop you, it may not even be necessary, if at all.
If you ever need Social Media Consulting, I’m just one click away.