Friday, October 31, 2008

Networking 101: Welcome to the dog park

This is a piece I wrote for the KSV intern newsletter, The Know, on starting to network.

It’s all about who you know, right? That’s what “they” say, and they seem to have a point – the more people you know, the more likely you are to hear about potential job openings, new clients, and exciting opportunities. How do you get started though? It can be intimidating!

It’s hard to get used to, but forming and using personal connections are important steps to building a reputation and getting your name out there. At the beginning, attending networking events felt forced or uncomfortable. I realized I much preferred a more natural, real world approach – meeting people through shared interests! For me, the logical connector is DOGS! Every dog parent likes talking about his or her dog, so it’s an easy way to start a conversation. In my first few days at KSV, I was able to make a personal connection with 4 different coworkers just by being genuinely interested in their dogs.

As well as an ice breaker technique for getting to know your fellow KSVers, you never know who you’re going to meet at the dog park or in the dog-friendly shops on Church Street. And as far as personal interaction, it doesn’t get much more low-stress than watching your dog have fun! It’s easy enough to strike up a conversation about your dogs, and then venture to other topics. “Oh yes, Rufus comes to the office with me every day, it’s wonderful! Where do I work? KSV – we’re a full service ad agency. What do you do?”

Poof, you’re networking.

The way I was finally able to be comfortable with the big scary concept of networking was to take it for what it is, at its core – building personal connections that will benefit both of you down the road. For me, dogs are my foot in the door. But everyone has his or her own best fit. Maybe you love hiking and camping around Vermont, you’re a total green thumb, or a budding wine aficionado. Give it some thought, what’s yours?

2 comments:

Mutt Gal said...

Ah- this is why I hit it off with some people, and the others just think I'm nuts! lol! Seriously, though, you're right about natural networking.

Oh hey, and congrats on the roomie thing- Rog will get the hang of it soon, and love it, I'm sure!

Lou said...

Exactly - it's a great gauge of how likely it is we'll be friends.

As far as the roommates, I hope they become friends soon!! Right now they just kind of avoid each other - Roxy's scared of Roger, and he's confused about her!