KL Wells delivers strategic networking tips at UO marketing mixer

Posted & filed under Advertising, Community, Life, Social Media, Tips of the Trade, Video, Work.

marketingmixerAlthough I enjoy networking, I’m always looking for ways to be more effective at it. When I received an invitation to a marketing mixer hosted by

University of Oregon American Marketing Association, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do just that, while also reconnecting with some colleagues from my business school days. My co-worker, Lindsey Kate, and I decided to attend the event together.

KL Wells, founder and president of Networking Power and author of How to Create a Powerful Network in 90 Days, anchored the event with her presentation and tips. With eyes glistening eagerly, University of Oregon students were dressed in their finest business attire and anxious to meet marketing professionals from the community.

“How many of you came here tonight thinking you would meet someone who would change your life forever?” asked Wells.

Silence. Eyes scanned the room. One young man slowly raised his hand.

“All of you should meet that young man tonight,” Wells said, acknowledging the sole confessor.

Networking leads to your “tribe,” as well as to job connections
Although diminutive in stature, Wells revealed herself to be a powerful and enthusiastic speaker. She told of her experience relocating to Eugene from another state, wanting to establish herself, and successfully creating a network of associates by the time she’d been here a mere three months.

I found Wells’ enthusiasm contagious and her suggestions practical. She spoke about the importance of networking in the job search process, noting that 90 percent of employment offers arise from networking efforts, despite the emphasis in most career-oriented coursework on preparing resumes and cover letters.

Her presentation also included tips on how to be “strategic” in the process of networking. She urged us to approach each networking opportunity as a chance to connect with individuals belonging to one’s “tribe” – that is, people who share your values.

What can you give, rather than get?
She also encouraged students not to approach networking from the mindset of what could be obtained (an interview, job, internship), but rather with the intention of giving specific skills, talents, and interests to the interaction and finding people who share them or who may be able to connect the student with others who share them.

Wells then instructed attendees to select a partner we did not know, and she provided three fairly profound questions upon which to base our exchange – reminding us that, rather than engaging in superficial “schmoozing,” these questions were more likely to connect us with others of our “tribe.”

Here are three questions KL Wells suggests to use when networking:

  1. What do you LOVE to do in your spare time? Specifically, not simply your interests, but what really lights you up?
  2. Who has been the greatest inspiration for you, alive or dead? What is it about this person that inspires you?
  3. What would make the year 2014 remarkable for you?

From this process, I found someone who shared my interest and involvement in a local nonprofit event, someone whom I’d previously been unaware of in that arena.

Lindsey Kate and I both left the mixer refreshed, optimistic about meeting others of our “tribes,” and energized about how to be strategic in future networking opportunities.

For a glimpse of the event, take a look at this video recap the student organizer’s created.

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