The key to successful networking, is networking for no reason.
Pshhhh I have no idea what the key to successful networking is for real, but I can tell you if you wait to network til you need something then we are starting off behind the curve.
When you wait until you need something to start networking people feel like you are using them. We expect networking to have a component of “give back” to it. When you show up, people are looking to see if you want to be a part of the bigger picture, not if you just need to get your next job or next sale and move on.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t network if you’re to the point of needing something right now and you haven’t started, just go about it carefully. Find a way to volunteer with the group you’re trying to network into. Volunteering next to members shows that you have an interest in the organization or group and will help facilitate no pressure conversations. This will lead to people getting to know you and seeing your work ethic for themselves. As long as that goes well, they will start referring you when they hear that someone will be opening a job soon.
It sounds simple because it is simple. Don’t over think the process. Know that most people are nervous at first and most people don’t enjoy networking. Find a way to contribute to other people and volunteer organizations in 2019, you never know when you’ll need them.
Hot off the heels of #SHRM18 and I have to share that I’ve been quite sappy about it!
First reason being because Chicago is where it all started for me. #SHRM13 was the first time I was invited to be a part of the bloggers team and I was absolutely overwhelmed with the experience. I was introduced to so many wonderful, intelligent HR professionals from different industries and backgrounds, heard speakers that I probably never would have heard otherwise, went to Chicago for the first time, played a pretty fun kickball game with complete strangers for a good cause, went to a party where DJ Jazzy Jeff was the entertainment and saw firsthand how important it is for #HR professionals to have other #HR people in their circle. I was welcomed into a group of people who were trying to do good HR and help others do the same. The other reason being how twitter changed everything for my professional development and career path. Seriously.
The first time I tweeted was at an Alabama SHRM State conference back in 2012. The conference organizers had set up two screens in the main session room that would scroll through tweets of people using their hashtag in real-time. I sat close to the front and kept seeing the same few tweets over and over from two, maybe three people ( I have determined two were April Dowling and Pam Werstler). I was uncomfortable, I was slightly embarrassed for the conference organizers (I had empathy for conference organizers far before I ever helped organize a conference) and decided to pull my phone out and create a twitter so I could start tweeting about the session. It didn’t help much, but I was doing my part to throw some variety on the tweet screen set-up. My plan was to delete my twitter after the conference, but I didn’t. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Fast forward to today and I’m connected to thousands of #HR professionals across the globe via twitter. I interact with hundreds of them regularly, call some of them my friends, and have used them as resources when I need fresh perspectives on a challenge or some expert guidance. I’ve been inspired by #HR pros on twitter, I’ve been furious because of some of the content from #HR pros, I’ve been a voice in the conversation for our profession thanks to twitter, and I’ve listened to other voices of our profession, also thanks to twitter. I’ve found mentors through this social media tool, role models, people who are smarter than me, people who also make mistakes, people who are better writers than me, people who have experienced things I have not, people who love me, and some people who don’t. I find updates in the legal realm of HR via twitter, I get to see takeaways from events and conferences in real-time via twitter, I see people helping others solve their challenges through twitter, and one time I met Boyd Tinsley because of twitter. He’s a hugger, as you can see below. Good things happen on twitter.
Good things happen on twitter if you let them. All things that can be used for good can also be used for bad (or even evil). In my experience the good outweighs the bad. If you are still hesitant to get on twitter, try it for 30 days. If you are afraid that your employees will see what you are tweeting, make your account private. If you go the route of private you can control who follows you, but I recommend putting HR in your bio so other HR pros can tell they should follow you back when you follow them. You can also practice “what if my boss reads this” or “what if employees read this” and screen your own tweets. Believe it or not, there are some things I want to tweet that I actually never hit send on. If you are afraid of being yourself out there and feel the need to make an anonymous account that works for some people, but I think you’ll have a hard time building real relationships that route and you are really missing out if you can’t build real relationships.
All this to say that really I’ve experienced so much because of my first tweet. I really believe that if it weren’t for the opportunity to connect and build relationships via twitter, my career would’ve stalled out years ago. I would’ve learned far less than I have and had a much smaller network of HR friends and colleagues to cheer me on and challenge me to be better. I’ve had opportunities to speak to groups, write for other companies, travel to new cities, etc. and all of that can be traced back to my first tweet!
It never feels like enough time at national conference. Every one is back home by now and getting in their usual work routine again (after a 12 and a half hour crash to recharge our introverted batteries-just me?). We are all catching up on what we missed while we were in NOLA and cranking out our “final thoughts” on #SHRM17 while asking ourselves how did it come and go so quickly? This was my fifth annual conference and it may have been the best one yet.
Every year the Smart Stage line up has gotten better and better (Rue has been killing it from the start), the crew responsible for the social media team finds more creative ways to use our experience as an advantage for conference attendees, and the concurrent sessions cover a wide array of interests and experience levels. This year I really started to notice more people connecting at the conference! Of course a lot of factors are at work for this to happen, but social media has a hand in all that connecting! I was so lucky to witness, and be a part of, so many IRL meet ups this year from people who have been chatting together and sharing their thoughts via twitter, Facebook, instagram, blogs, etc. and it made my little HR heart SO HAPPY!!!
Connecting with new people is not easy for every one. I know this because it takes a lot of effort for me to connect with a new person (and following Heather Bussings lead, I’m currently looking for a designated extrovert for myself to maybe make this a little easier). Regardless, these connections are vital to the growth of our field of Human Resources. Our profession is made up of all kinds of folks with different backgrounds, different interests, different education, etc. and that allows us all to see things slightly different. The cool thing about that is now you have other professionals you can bounce ideas off of, discuss challenges, and share best practices while crossing geographical boundaries. I don’t mean we should set out to copy each other in any area of our job, but to build on each others strengths and learn from each other we have to be connected.
To move our profession forward and break the stereotypes that we don’t like we must work together as a whole to, dare I say, do HR on Purpose!! The process of moving forward will happen much quicker if we are intentional about continuing the conversation long after conference. (One way you can do that is joining the #Nextchat discussions on Wednesdays at 3pm ET!!!).
Having a strong network of HR professionals to help you grow and push you to represent us all well makes the challenges of HR less overwhelming. So I want to challenge you to reach out to someone you met at #SHRM17 within the next week and just follow-up with them. Send them an email, LinkedIn message, tweet whatever you like & see how they were doing and tell them you enjoyed connecting with them! Keeping the conversation going can be that simple.
If you’re an introvert like me, having those social media connections is way less exhausting than having to constantly meet with people in person by the way.
WOW! Wow, wow, wow! I just got back from the Alabama 2 day State SHRM Conference and I had such a GREAT time! First, the conference team had a great theme: “Roller Coaster of Love, the UPS and DOWNS of HR”
Second. They had great speakers: http://bit.ly/1EZ4DLO This group was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I heard at least a bit of everyone’s presentation and everyone did fabulous! I was so impressed with this line up of speakers.
Third. 10.25 recert credits! They even had some strategic AND global recert credits!
Day 1 was a shorter day and it had three great general sessions! Broc Edwards closed it out with a killer challenge to a room of 300 or so HR professionals to be BOLD! During day 2 (now up to over 500 attendees) of the conference the halls were buzzing with excitement. So many people were pumped and ready to accept the challenge of being bold. All day long during day 2 professionals were bouncing from great session to great session with enthusiasm and excitement that we all wish we could have every single day on the job. What I loved the most was overhearing all of the positive comments from attendees. It was refreshing! It felt like we were all in this together and that we could all make a difference together.
Yeah, yeah I’m kind of cheesy…
In just about every session we were challenged to stop being just HR and start being bold and passionate and reasonable! Stop being the department of no, do risk assessment and present your team with options, help the business reach their goals, etc. etc. What’s the best thing I learned? Probably that we are business professionals who happen to work in HR. Let that sink in for a bit! Here’s some of what you missed:
Beware of cross pollination of Fed agency investigations. They are sharing info #alshrm15
Okay, seriously, I know that was a lot of tweets, but its only a sample! Go search the hashtag #alshrm15 for more and to find some GREAT HR PROFESSIONALS to follow! What do you think about these takeaway tweets?
Go ahead and mark your calendar for #ALSHRM16 because I hear its going to be even better!! A huge thanks to our conference co-chairs Melissa DeVore & Bobbi Wilson and their committees for pulling off such a great 2 day conference, allowing us HR pros to connect with each other, learn from each other, and recharge! Best State conference I’ve been to in years and I cannot wait to do it again next year!
This is Chicago day 2 and I have to say SHRM knows how to have a conference. I’ve been in complete awe since I stepped foot in the McCormick center. The volunteers are the friendliest people you could ever meet and beyond helpful; turns out there is hope for customer service yet! HRCI is sponsoring free 10 minute massages today-Heck yeah! There is a lounge for chapter volunteers to kick back and enjoy some snacks and win some cool prizes. There’s vendors for every little thing your company could need from pet insurance to some kind of breast pump solutions (?). There’s people here from all over (78 countries) like Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia and even, you guessed it, Alabama! Just thinking about how much knowledge and expertise is sitting in this building with me seriously gives me chills!!! The SHRM store is here selling some really cools stuff for all of us nerdy HR pros. The HIVE is set up next to the SHRM store to answer all your social media questions and tech recruiting questions. And there’s plenty of time and opportunity to network and have fun with your HR friends! I’m quickly making new friends and connections and already learning things to take back to work and share with my coworkers! I’m so excited to be here at #SHRM13 and if you’re here then come seek me out tomorrow in the HIVE from 10-12, I would LOVE to meet you! If you’re not here at #SHRM13 my blogger friends and I will be working diligently to keep you in the know!
Kristina Hutto Minyard
I am a former HR practitioner, current HR advocate. Program Manager and Technical Recruiter by day, HR writer and Speaker by all the other hours. Currently the co-host of #DisruptHRHSV. You can find a little bit of everything here at hrpockets: HR Lessons, how HR impacts my Program Management, Parenting woes (and wins), stories of friendship, maybe some shopping and whatever else I decide… I mean, I bring my whole self to work so it’s time to bring my whole self to the blog.
I’m a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Blogger, problem solver, certified in HR, touch-me-not, runner, cat person, Netflix and Hulu binger.