On Friday I had the opportunity to present Networking with Excellence and Integrity as a part of the McMaster Alumni Professional Development Day. I have attended this event for the past 3 years and this year was the best yet. The organizer, Laura, did an excellent job of promoting networking from the beginning of the day. The format is simple, we began the day with a keynote speaker, Jeff Tobe, Coloring Outside the Lines. This was one of the highlights of the day for me. Afterwards, a short networking break with coffee and snacks. Then the first of two breakout sessions. My session on Networking was one of the two choices in the morning.
There were about 35 people in the room for this session. We had a lot of fun together and had the opportunity to do some networking within the small group, using some of the skills that had been learned. It was interesting to have such a variety of people in the room, since there were alumni from many decades and also non-alumni who had heard about the event. Lunch followed and again we were encouraged to meet new people and sit at a different table. I noticed that many people were using some of the skills they had learned in the morning session.
After lunch we again had the choice between two breakout sessions. This was once again followed by a networking break – and A CANDY BAR – if you’ve never seen this, it was awesome. Bowls of candy and bags of popcorn for snacking on. Sure, we had a sugar rush and crashed on the way home, but it was really fun. Tal Dehtiar of Oliberté spoke as the closing keynote. He is a McMaster Alumni and a young, successful business person, whose current project is Oliberté footwear, making shoes in Africa for export only. It was a very interesting and eye opening talk.
What I really enjoyed about the day was that the sessions were relevant and interesting, and I learned skills that I can use outside of the seminar. I had the chance to meet many different and interesting people and even started a few good relationships. It was great to have an opportunity to practice networking skills with a group of such diverse individuals. Networking truly is a skill that can be learned with practice. This was an example of an event that was put together to not only educate us, but to allow us opportunities to network throughout the day.
If you’d like to learn more about networking and some of the skills needed to become a great networker, join us for the next Networking with Excellence and Integrity on Wednesday May 26th, 7 – 8:30 pm at the Oakville Public Library, Central Branch. Advanced registration is $20, at the door $30. You can register directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were at the event on Friday or have attended a N.W.E.I. session before, please share some of your feedback in the comments.