Networking has all kinds of connotations. Some people feel butterflies in their stomach, some see it as awkward and artificial while others feel energized. To help make networking a more positive experience and authentic, business development executive, Lynn Paolicelli shared her personal experiences and professional tips during the combined HBA West Chester and HBA Montgomery County workshop on 10 January in King of Prussia, PA sponsored by LexisNexis. As a master networker, Lynn told her audience of nearly 50 professionals, “The true value of networking doesn’t come from how many people you meet, but how many people you can connect.” Lynn explained that to make that mind shift you need to be authentic, honest and empathic and give back without an expectation of getting something in return. Most importantly she said, “If you don’t believe in yourself who else will?” She also emphasized that with so many social platforms, we no longer have the luxury of walking into a room without people knowing about us. Her advice was to make sure the footprint you leave is authentic. Lynn also provided conversation starters that didn’t require reciting a prepared elevator pitch. Attendees were paired up so everyone could practice new networking openers, such as:
- What brought you to this event?
- What do you do for fun?
- What’s the best piece of career advice you received?
- What can I do to help you?
Audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Anita Burrell, HBA West Chester president, closed the event by telling attendees that moving forward our chapter will be soliciting volunteers to serve as “networking ambassadors” at future events. These ambassadors will have a red dot on their name badge, indicating they are an approachable, friendly and welcoming face in the crowd. These ambassadors are there to connect with people standing off to the side, appearing more introverted so they don’t feel so alone. Even if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend Lynn’s workshop, be sure to attend our 23 January event on Vocal Empowerment for Women and Men in Leadership to practice Lynn’s networking technique.