Posts Tagged ‘happy hour’

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on EcoWomen Networking Tips, Tried And True

DC EcoWomen Board’s Best Practices To Take To Your Next Happy Hour

Last year, DC EcoWomen gave you ten great networking tips to bring to our EcoWomen happy hour. Since then, members of the Board have been through countless networking happy hours and events, testing out the networking tricks for themselves. We’ve introduced ourselves to prominent ladies, tested out our elevator speeches, received endless business cards — and in the meantime, we’ve met a lot of great women and made lasting connections.

Now, one year later, we bring you the fruits of our efforts: The best networking tips, tried and true, from the DC EcoWomen Board, starting from the moment you walk in the door:

Take Initiative.

Someone has to do it! Be the first person to walk up to someone, say hello, and introduce yourself.

Confidence is key here — as EcoWomen, we already bring something to the party. More importantly, an air of confidence from the beginning can help you make the first move. Even if you are feeling a little shy, you can fake it — no one will know the difference!

In particular, don’t be afraid to walk up to a Board Member and say hello! We love getting to know our members.

Prepare Your Elevator Speech.

Once you take initiative and say hello, you might want to know what you’re going to say next! So what information do you want to get across to the women and men you meet at your networking event? Brainstorm ideas ahead of time, pick your three best talking points, and fit them into an elevator speech (a 20 to 30 second rundown of who you are and what you do). Make sure to practice your pitch so it rolls comfortably off your tongue, even when you meet your role model .

In addition to your elevator speech, it’s helpful to have a few generic conversation pieces and questions in your back pocket (figuratively — it might be awkward to pull out flash cards mid-sentence). This will prevent undue conversation lulls and awkward pauses.

Listen,  And Be Personal.

Let’s be honest: everyone loves talking about themselves — what they do, how they got there, what they’re passionate about. The best way to learn about who you’re talking to is to ask questions. What are they passionate about? How did they get to where they are? What are their goals? Do you have similar passions or goals?

One Board member advocates bringing an air of curiosity – what interesting things might you learn? All information is currency!

But conversation is a two-way street — you shouldn’t just ask an endless supply of questions without offering some information about yourself. Just make sure to be genuine; personal stories can help open others up and inspire a greater connection.

Take Notes.

The best time to take notes is immediately after the event, and the best vehicle for your notes is on the business cards of who you met. This way you can easily connect your conversation to the contact information you have at hand. Jot a note on the card if you’d like to follow up with its owner, or if they’re expecting your email. If nothing else, taking notes can help you remember someone’s name if you should run into them again — more on that later!

Follow Up.

Following up is essential for keeping your new connections. It can be as simple as shooting someone a quick email if you’re not up for crafting a hand-written thank you message, and can range from a “nice to meet you!” to setting up a burgeoning relationship with your new mentor.

And finally,  our top two tips (tied for first)…
Use Their Name.

Repeating someone’s name throughout the conversation can help them warm to you — people love to hear their own name. But more importantly, it will help you remember who they are so you can take notes or follow up later!

Make sure to glance at their name tags right away when you introduce yourself. One hint is to look at the name tag and then the face several times to try to visualize it — imagine writing it out in your head, thinking about each individual letter as you look at the person. You might even try coming up with some clever rhyme incorporating their job, or something unique they said, as well. It’s hard to train yourself to actively do this while paying attention to what is being said, but extremely helpful.

Then, when someone else joins the conversation, you can introduce the first person to the second and also include something interesting about them. Bonus points!

Practice,  Practice,  Practice!

The best piece of advice anyone can give: to practice, and practice again. There’s really no better way to improve and polish your networking skills. Eventually you will feel confident, comfortable introducing yourself to strangers, and most importantly, you’ll learn which tips work best for you.

DC EcoWomen provides you with many opportunities to do just that! On February 24, DC EcoWomen is teaming up with WIN’s Environmental Network for a conjoined happy hour. And don’t forget about our monthly EcoHours, where we always give time for networking at the beginning and the end of the event.

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By DC Net Impact President Mikael Baker

DC Net Impact is extremely excited to partner with DC EcoWomen to co-host a networking happy hour on July 23 at Irish Whiskey in Dupont Circle. This will be a great opportunity for DC EcoWomen members to learn about DC Net Impact, for DC Net Impact members to learn about DC EcoWomen, and for members of both organizations to expand their professional networks. Though there is some overlap between members of both organizations, this will be the first event co-hosted by both DC EcoWomen and DC Net Impact.

Because of our Washington, DC location, DC Net Impact is in a unique position as a Net Impact chapter, with access to experts, lawmakers, think tanks, federal agencies, and NGOs. We bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds across the age spectrum through unique programming including panel discussions, sustainable business tours, special-interest dinners, networking events, film screenings, professional development workshops, and webinars. For example we recently hosted a film screening of The Island President, followed by a lively climate change panel discussion. Key interest areas for DC Net Impact members include Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Measuring/Reporting Impact, International Development, Environmental Conservation, and Renewable Energy.

Just over twenty years ago, Net Impact began as a network of MBA students that believed they could be a positive force for social and environmental impact, by focusing their business skills toward initiatives in these areas rather than following career paths traditionally followed by MBA graduates. The idea was radical at the time and is still eye-opening for some. Since its founding, Net Impact has grown to over 10,000 members on six continents.

RSVP for the DC Net Impact joint happy hour today!

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on 10 Networking Tips for the DC EcoWomen Happy Hour

I have a secret to spill. Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), I love spending my free time by myself. I will explore the city on my bike, read a book next to the river, or sit in a cafe for hours with only a pen and paper for company. You may have guessed it: I am an introvert.

There’s been somewhat of an introvert ‘revolution’ in our country – probably the most quiet and peaceful revolution of our time. Scientists are realizing just how many people identify themselves as introverts, or have introverted characteristics: a whopping 50% of the US population. Recently, articles and books have been popping up all over to help introverts (and others) understand the circumstances that seem to favor extroverts.

Why is this important for your career? Living in D.C., networking is essential. But it can be scary, especially for an introvert.

The good news is that there are a lot of resources to help you and make networking easier.  There are many things you can do before your next networking event, during the event, and afterwards to get the most out of networking. If you want to breeze through your next event, try some of these tips!

Before The Event

1. Know what you want to get out of it.

Networking isn’t always about finding a job. Are you looking for a new mentor? Information on how to break into a certain industry? Hoping to tell people about an upcoming event of yours? Recruiting for volunteers? Make sure you have answers to these questions – know your goal.

2. Do your homework.

Is there going to be a specific person at this event you want to know? If you know what sort of crowd will be there, you can at least have an idea. Research your industry of interest beforehand. If you have trouble with small talk, maybe even come up with some compelling conversation-starters beforehand.

3. Prepare.

If there’s one place to put an elevator speech – a 20 to 30 second long pitch about your assets and goals – to work, it’s at a networking event. Practice this beforehand.

During The Event

4. Take Initiative

Don’t be afraid to be the first one to walk up to someone with an outstretched hand, or enter a conversation and introduce yourself. Be the first to offer help when it is needed. Playing the active role will make you seem confident, even if you aren’t feeling that way.

5. Use their name

Everyone likes to hear their name! If you repeat someone’s name, not only does it help you remember, but it gives that person a little boost of happiness. Try to repeat their name when they first introduce themselves, and throughout the conversation as well.

6. Learn to listen

Ask open-ended questions about the other person. Really listen to what they are saying, with all of your focus. This lets the other person know you value what they are saying.

7. Be personal, be genuine

Being genuine goes hand in hand with listening. Talk to people you really want to know about, and tell them something real about yourself, too.

After The Event

 8. Take notes

As soon as you get home, it’s a great idea to write down everything you remember. On each business card you receive, you can write notes about who gave them to you. Did you learn about a new event? An insight to your industry? A way to learn a new skill? Write them down, before you forget!

9. Say thank you, follow up

The networking event is just the beginning. If you want to form a relationship with someone new, it’s important to follow up right away. Send thank-you notes – you could even be personal and write a card! Schedule a follow up meeting if you’d like to continue the conversation.

10. Practice!  

There are networking opportunities all the time in this city for networking. The best way to get comfortable with networking is to just do it! What’s more, DC EcoWomen are giving you the perfect opportunity to flex those networking muscles – at our post-conference happy hour!

Maybe you’ll leave your next event with 100 connections, or maybe just one or two really great contacts. Hopefully, you will form a meaningful relationship with someone, or learn something truly valuable.

It’s comforting to know that about half of the people at your next networking event are introverts. But with help, and with practice, networking can be easy – and fun! So give it a shot: on May 18th, come to our networking happy hour and say hello. Even if it doesn’t land your dream job, you’ll get to enjoy the night with delicious appetizers, drinks, and genuine company.

Hope to see you there!