Friday, June 20, 2014

Professional Networking: Working a room.

Pass along to the youngest and all the future leaders you know.

You will have to learn to ‘work a room’,  this has outstanding tips for professional networking.

The start of any relationship (personal or business) begins on the approach and communication.  Ending a business relations is still similar, cease communications.

Enjoy.  I’ll see you playing the room out of the corner of my eye.


Black Emergency Managers Association  
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.   Tom Peters
…….The search is on.

From: Institute for Black Male Achievement []

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IBMA Tip of the Week

Each week, the Institute for Black Male Achievement aims to bring you a capacity-building tip to spark discussion and generate ideas on how to advance our organizations, ourselves, and the field. 

June 20, 2014

NetworkingTwo events in the field of black male achievement were held on the same day this week. At the same time as the annual A Gathering of Leaders was happening in Oakland, CA, across the country in New York, NY, the Institute for Black Male Achievement hosted the first annual Investing in Black Male Achievement: Accelerating What Works conference, where seven nonprofit leaders from across the country took the stage in front of a room full of funders and shared how their organizations are improving the life outcomes of black men and boys (if we missed you at the event, watch the video here).

Our field like others is anchored by many events that bring us together as a field locally and nationally. Many of us spend significant time attending various local and national events, and look to these as venues to build new relationships with potential colleagues, partners, and yes, funders. Thus, at any event, networking is an important skill to make sure to get the most out of the time you spend. Please see below for some tips on how to work a room effectively, and the full diagram from Effective Networking here.
1.      Don't go in cold. A week before, research the event to get a sense of the audience. That way, you'll know who you want to meet and be able to use the information to break the ice with them.
2.      Try wearing something bright. There will be a bazillion blue suits there - why not stand out in something bright - but not in a bad way. Travel light by carrying a wallet with two pockets - one for business cards coming in - the other for business cards going out. No fumbling.
3.      Walk the walk. Walk through the event with confidence, and try to look like you are having a good time. People attend these events because they want to meet other skilled, talented people.
4.      Start with the food table. People tend to be very accessible around the food. Talking and eating go together. It's a great way to get started at an event. 
5.      Who's who. Circle the room first before you pick your targets to speak with. This will give also you a chance to remember names so that you don't have to look down at nametags while talking with folks. 
6.      Approach VIPs first. Keynote speakers love to talk and can be great contacts, but after they give their speeches they're always swamped.  
7.      Spot the lone wolves. Rooms can be crowded, so look for people who are standing alone. It can be harder to integrate into a group, and individual contact is best and most effective for networking.
8.      "And you are?" The goal is to ask others about themselves so that you can connect to their interests and lives. You can say what you do and then your name at the end so that they're more likely to remember.
9.      Press the flesh. Be the first to extend your hand. It's an old protocol, a sign that you're eager to interact. Also make sure to shake hands good-bye. 
10.    Be curious. While talking to strangers, ask open-ended questions to assess right off whether they'll be of any help. Don't go off into a 20-second commercial about yourself. Real leaders are curious. 
11.    Card exchange. Have your cards readily available in a pocket so they're easy to exchange. You can put the cards you receive in another pocket so they don't get mixed up. 
12.    Get an introduction. Sometimes rather than approaching someone solo it makes sense to have a mutual acquaintance give an introduction. The next time you meet there will be that association and context. 
13.    Give and take. Always try and be a connector, the person who brings people together. This not only helps you look more connected, but may also help others want to return the favor. 

Don't forget to check out the IBMA's resource library for more capacity-building and field-building resources. Don't see a resource that you need on a certain area of capacity-building?
Please share your resource needs by emailing

The Institute for Black Male Achievement is a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys through systemic change.

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