Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Lead Out Loud Summit, which is an annual summit hosted at The University of Central Florida. There were a variety of speakers, one of which stood out to me the most: Mr. Ed Daniels.
Mr. Daniels began his presentation by asking us to define “networking.” Everyone gave the obvious answers, i.e. looking for a job, meeting people to give you a job, meeting big shots and people that can help you in the future, etc. To our surprise this was only half the answer. Networking is not simply meeting those that can benefit you. Instead, your network should include what you can do to benefit others.
Often times we only desire to meet individuals who are “successful” and we overlook those that work just as hard. How many of us know the Janitors at our Universities? How many of us have taken the time to greet the lawn mowers we see? What about the people that prepare our lattes in the morning, drive our shuttles or even construct the buildings we sit in?
I believe we, the beautiful BFDC, are such a powerful group of women. We possess the abilities and the tools to inspire, impact and transform the lives of those we may come into contact with. We may never meet a lawyer that can offer us a job, we may never be presented with endless opportunities by others but what we CAN do is be the women giving someone else a job. We can be the women offering someone else words of wisdom or simply just our time. While it is great to have a balance, we should be reminded that it is better to give than it is to receive.
I challenge all of you to create and/or or expand your network. If while doing so you run into President Obama or Beyonce, GREAT! If not? That’s okay too.
“Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. It works best, however, when emphasizing the ‘give’ part.” —Bob Burg