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Speed Networking over too soon

by Cynthia Parkin

What a great evening. The room was packed with Society of Technical Communication (STC) members, and not-yet-members. Obviously, people were primed for the night’s topic – even before the event started, we had begun to network in our new digs, the Skills Room at the Y on Hornby.

Calling the meeting to order, Mellissa Ruryk, our chapter’s president, welcomed everyone, shared chapter news, and announced our membership had increased to 117 at last count (hurray!).
Vice-president Aaron Fultz introduced the panellists: Kacie Crook of Aerotek Inc., Alison Oxton of Sierra Systems, and Malay Kapoor of Commonwealth of Learning. Fielding prepared and impromptu questions, the panelists spoke about where and when to network (at all times!), the ideal use of LinkedIn, how to manage time, what not to do, and how networking has helped them become successes.

My “aha” moment was under “what not to do.” All the panelists agreed, “Do not over sell yourself.” They brought it back to developing connections. Find a mutual point between you and who you are networking with; and then make that your reason to connect with that person again. It makes sense!

After a brief break and a rearranging of chairs, we settled into speed networking. We had three minutes for each pairing, before the bell rang to change partners. With a receptive audience, we easily exchanged names and business cards, and learned a little about each other. Will I reconnect with those I met? I hope so, but even if not, I appreciated the opportunity to practice networking. Apparently, it might be an annual offering of the chapter, so don’t miss it next year!

It was a fun night, and I left the evening feeling motivated and energized.
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