Networking is to People as Water is to Fish
When I woke up Tuesday morning, it felt like an ordinary day. There were no indications of the amazing time I was going to have for the next two days. When I got to work that morning, I knew I would be attending a Google Reception but I didn’t know how amazing it would be. That day I met up with my fellow Aspirations Alum Veronica, Krista, Katie, Kirsi and Angelika and we headed over to the Google Office in Washington, DC. When we arrived, we were greeted by security and casually directed upstairs to the event. Stepping out of the elevator, I was introduced to a rush of color and intricate design - Google is both beautiful and captivating! Primary colors surround you in a beautiful flow of blue, red and yellow and splashes of green. The floor is like a canvas, and the furniture is the essence.
We signed in and entered the conference room. Now I have seen a few conference rooms, but none of the chairs have looked as comfortable as the Google chairs! Glancing away from the stage, I made my way towards a group of adults deep in conversation and they greeted me affably. They were both engaging and a bit obstinate in their own way. I have realized that you should never shy away from a conversation. If you speak your mind and your intentions are pure, then people will intently listen.
This week I have been analyzing the process of networking. While some adolescents do not comprehend the potential benefits of proper networking, it leaves great opportunities for those who do. When networking, there are many different tactics to create a memorable impression. Initially, I ordered personal business cards. I may not have a permanent job but I was able to personalize my cards so that everyone walked away with a better understanding of who I am and what my aspirations are. Networking seems complicated at first glance, but more than that, it is intricate. It is not intricate due to the level interaction but rather due to the mannerisms. While networking, I tend to ask certain questions:
- Who are they and what do they do?
- How can I aide in their aspirations
- How can they aide in my aspirations
While seemingly direct, I elaborated each question in a way that was specific to the conversation. Elaborating the conversation is extremely important because you tend to remember the tiny details, which can be utilized in the future. After collecting business cards from Google representatives, technology advocates, government positions, privates startups, etcetera, I began to write thank you emails. This is why it is important that I had personal conversations. While writing my emails, I am able to include parts of personal conversations, which make me memorable. Call me a geek but I believe networking was the most important part of my experience.
Google was amazing but the White House does not compare. The Facebook event was enriching and I proudly departed with my giant stack of business cards. In my philosophy, opportunities breed connections, but in this never-ending cycle, connections introduce new opportunities. An experience becomes a memory, but a connection remains forever.