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Jump Start Your Networking Plan

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Are you feeling stuck? You want to relaunch your career, but don’t know where to start? Attend a women’s leadership conference! You don’t have to be employed to benefit from its tremendous networking, inspiration, and idea generating opportunities.

Research women leadership conferences in your area. Use Google as a starting point and make a list of conferences, events, and workshops that sound appealing. Look at their sponsor list, speakers and panelists in order to get a sense of who is going to be in the audience, who will be your fellow attendees? How many will there be? Knowing that Microsoft, HP and Wells Fargo were sponsors of the one I just went to, for example, guaranteed to me that the conference would be worthwhile.

Create a business card and a title for yourself. Although these are not necessary for participation, trading business cards is a common practice. You want to build your contact network so you want business cards from interesting and inspiring people you meet. You also want them to remember you. As for title, be whatever makes sense for you at this time in your life. Several women I met were consultants for their own companies. My favorite was the woman who listed “” as her company! What a fun way to embrace this adventure we call life!

Set aside the time as an investment in your future, your knowledge, your network. Go! Face to face contact with people is priceless. You have no idea what doors will open for you. It may seem daunting to start the networking conversation with your fellow attendees, but as Sam Horn says, just use two magic words, “Tell me … ” i.e.

“Tell me about what you do …”
“Tell me about the challenges you are facing at … ”
“Tell me about your career track … ”

You will find the conversations fun and stimulating, especially if you have been out of the workplace for a while.

As you head home with your stack of business cards and the glow of knowing you have invested in yourself in a meaningful way, make a list of networking next steps while your experience is fresh in your mind. You are on your way!


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