“It’s not who you know but who knows YOU”.
Dictionary.com defines networking as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
This definition provides a clean view of networking but does not limit how it can be done. I have written in the past about several podcast episodes I have been a part of. Each episode was done to share a specific message to the audience and help their professional growth. I engaged in multiple in-person networking events (Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with designs to meet people who could help me grow my consulting and speaking roles. So, as you can see, networking takes on many forms with the objective of connecting with others.
I got invited to speak on a local radio program last week to engage and speak with Fort Pierce community members about my new workplace and the work we do. Turns out the radio host is an Indian River State College (IRSC) colleague who happens to work on a different campus. We had not met prior to the event but knew of each other through work interactions.
I make a point to never turn down opportunities to speak about the great work we do for our students and alumni populations. The radio spot was a fantastic way for me to network with students, parents and employers interested in attending or coming back to IRSC.
The host for this networking opportunity works directly with underrepresented students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. She is always looking for new ways to engage students and members of the community on the benefits of higher education and wanted me to discuss how my office helps our students become career ready. Love being able to showcase the improved operations and services we are building. These new operational tweaks allow staff to reach more students and add value to the overall college experience.
I especially enjoyed participating in the radio program since I could speak directly to employers in the local Fort Pierce area who did not know they could recruit talent on our campuses. We are not hosting in-person events in the fall, but employers are able to post their openings for free with our office. We are in the process of finalizing our Virtual Career Fair platform and wanted to let employers know they have multiple access points to recruit on-campus. The radio program reaches our four-county service area and should enhance our reach to help employers understand how we can help them moving forward.
A secondary aspect of participating on the radio show was to let the community know enrollment for the fall semester is open and we are still recruiting new students. COVID-19 has had a major impact on college and university enrollments across the country and we are no different. Going on the radio allows us to let folks know we are here for them and want to share ways we can help with their success. Two-year colleges are very affordable and can be an excellent way to launch into a four-year degree if that is a goal.
The new term for me in this environment is UpSkill. We talk with prospective students and employers on the benefit of in-demand certificate programs to UpSkill their careers or improve staff outputs. This process is still new to me since I came from the four-year university model but UpSkill is a great way to impact local economies by training students to meet local career demands.
I am scheduled to speak on another radio program later this month hosted by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and will look to continue to network to help the Treasure Coast grow. Excited to see the impact of these networking opportunities! 😊
What networking opportunities are you working on? How can networking help your organization continue to grow?
“Networking is the #1 unwritten rule of success in business”.
Listen to the show here—I speak around the 5 minute mark: http://wjfp.com/ondemand-wjfp/player.php?wrspot=72816