Have you joined a WICT SE mentoring circle? Or maybe you have identified someone that you really want to ask to be your mentor; however, they are 2 levels above you in your organization. They would be perfect to help you in your mentoring goals, but you must be fearless!
Throughout the year, eMentorConnect® will provide you with fearless mentoring tips to empower you to reach your career goals through mentorship. Here’s #1!
INITIATE: Prepare to be your Fearless self. Plan how you will approach that special person you would like to start a mentorship with. Imagine you are in the elevator and they step in, the only other person in the elevator with you. You have 6 seconds to act and to deliver your interest in having a first mentorship conversation with them. What would you say? This is your “elevator” speech. Be Fearless, and lead the conversation and let them know what’s in it for them and you. How have they inspired you? What trait do you recognize in them that you wish to develop? Some of the most inspiring messages are based on something as simple as a sentence, a question or a quote that resonates with you, and connects your head to your heart. Plan your conversation and practice it. How will you connect to your Mentor?
by Valerie Carrillo
I love to read a good book. Before I relocated to Knoxville a couple of years ago, one of my favorite activities was attending the monthly book club in my neighborhood. Not only was it a great way for me to diversify my reading, but I also found it was an important way for me to make new connections and discover what was happening in my neighborhood. For two hours, we would eat great food, sip wine and discuss our book of the month. It was fun. Not everyone had time to finish the book, but it was enormously helpful to get us to commit to reading.
We often think of reading as something we do alone, especially when it comes to books on leadership and career advancement. However, business book clubs can be an essential component of your leadership development. It can sharpen your intelligence, improve your emotional intelligence, plus make you a better communicator.
If you have not been to a WICT book club meeting, here are a few reasons you should consider joining:
- HELPS YOU TO ENGAGE IN DIVERSE CONTENT
When you join a business book club, you will find yourself reading genres that you might not otherwise choose to read. And business book clubs often have a diverse group of colleagues with different perspectives, which can lead to interesting conversations. And because you know you will be discussing a book with your peers, you are more than likely going to read it more deeply than a typical neighborhood book club.
- TEAM BONDING
Most book clubs are about relationships. They provide an opportunity for friends to meet and discuss topics of mutual interest. Sometimes this is done over dinner and drinks, like my neighborhood club. And while corporate book club may not serve drinks, they do offer a way to build and deepen relationships through shared learning. It is a safe environment where you can build trust in your co-workers, share ideas, or even debate ideas.
- BOOST CONFIDENCE
Discussing content in a book club can help you feel more confident in professional conversations with colleagues, team meetings or boardroom presentations. And the best way to become a good conversationalist is to practice. Attending a regular book club meeting allows you a safe place to learn how to engage in discussion without feeling awkward.
- IMPROVES CONCENTRATION, INCREASES INNOVATION
Your brain needs exercise just like the rest of your body. With all the gadgets and electronics, we are always plugged in, so it is hard to concentrate on one thing. When you read, you are forced to concentrate, which then opens your mind to new ideas and fosters creativity.
Book clubs are good for minds. Good for leadership. Good for business. If you are looking to grow both professionally and personally, check WICT Southeast’s event calendar to see when the next book club is in your area. Not only will you become a better reader, you will also meet some great new friends.
To be successful in the business world, you must network.
But there’s nothing scarier than walking into a room full of strangers and introducing yourself. I can feel my hands get clammy and my stomach drop now. How about you?
As the Southeast’s TASTE OF WICT comes to your neck of the woods, I found a few valuable tips to put you at ease and increase your networking circle.
- RESIST THE URGE TO ARRIVE LATE OR LEAVE EARLY
Entrepreneur magazine says that while this may sound counter-productive, showing up early is a better strategy than arriving late. When you arrive early, you will notice it’s less hectic because people haven’t had a chance to group together. In other words, it’s easier to find a conversation partner.
And just because the event comes to a close, doesn’t mean you have to go home. If there’s an after-party, gather a few people and go together. Or if there’s nothing planned, take action and invite people to continue the conversation over drinks or dinner.
- LEAVE THE HARD SELL AT HOME
Networking is all about building relationships. So, be yourself. It’s not about shoving your business cards in people’s faces and doing a hard sales pitch. Keep your conversations, light, fun and casual. So, get talking, make the conversation interesting and leave people wanting more. After all, people are more apt to do future business or partner with you when they enjoy your company.
- SAY CHEESE.
I know, this sounds like something your mother would tell you- but remember to smile. It’s so simple, yet many of us often overlook it. And when you smile, you come across as warm and inviting; plus, it helps to put you at ease. So, walk into the room with those pearly whites shining and ready to conquer the world. Definitely, check that frown at the door.
- FOCUS ON QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Instead of trying to get your business card in as many hands as possible, focus on the quality of your connections. When you first meet them, figure out if there is a chance for a mutual benefit. If there’s not, you might want to move on. It helps to know your networking goals before you get to the event so you can target those who can help you. But networking is a two-way street. So, uncover their needs. Ask your contact about their goals and aspirations and figure out ways you can help them.
- FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP. GET A SECOND DATE.
Networking is just the start, so stay in touch. Remember to pass out your business cards and collect them at your networking event. Don’t be afraid to find out the best way to stay in connect after the event. Some people like email, some like phone, while others prefer social networks. Reach out within a couple of days to show you are interested. And don’t forget to reference something you discussed so your contact remembers you.
The key to successful networking is giving what you want to receive. If you want to increase your visibility, help people increase theirs. If you want people to stay in contact with you, stay in contact with them. Focus less on selling yourself, and more on how you can help others. Because the help you give will likely be reciprocated.
And if you would like to practice your networking skills at the Taste of WICT in Knoxville, look for me. I’ll be there. Who knows maybe we can help each other.