What is Networking?
Have you networked lately? What exactly is networking anyway? During my Disney College Program I attended the Networking 101 Workshop and recently spoke to one of the facilitators to develop a better understanding of this popular buzz word. According to David, a Disney cast member of 20 years who currently facilitates Disney’s career development workshops and the leadership and heritage exploration series, “networking is more than just meeting someone”. “Networking is about building mutual relationships with others”. Check out some of the tips and tricks I learned from David’s advice and the workshop!
How to Start: The Meet & Greet
Meets and Greets are a great way to meet people and develop your professional network. Think about what you would like to learn and what you can contribute to a conversation. Maybe you would like to develop certain skills sets or learn more about a particular line of business. Set up a meet and greet with someone you are interested in learning from. Briefly introduce yourself and ask if they be willing to meet with you for 20-30 minutes so you can learn more about their role. David recommends thinking about networking as the process of building of mutual relationships. Ideally, the meet & greet has three components:
Before You Go –“You will be more effective if you prepare in advance”
- Prepare a few questions about the skills, interests, and talents of the person you are meeting
- Dress professionally and arrive 15 minutes early
- Bring your Disney nametag and ID
During the Meet and Greet – “Develop a rapport and conversational flow in the moment”
- Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet
- Create a rapport with the person you are meeting by asking questions about their skills, interests, and talents
- Ask for additional resources that you can investigate in the future
After the Meet and Greet –“Show that the meeting was a valuable use of time”
- Thank your new contact for their time within 24 hours
- Follow up periodically to keep in touch
Remember, every meet and greet will be different, so expect the unexpected. Treat each meeting as an opportunity to create positive interactions with unique people. The best time to start is now, so put on your smile and discover some interesting individuals!
To Learn More About Networking
Current participants can learn more about networking at Disney’s Networking 101 Career Development Workshop or by taking the Marketing You collegiate course. College Program Alumni Speaker Series (CPASS) are great events to practice your networking skills as well. If you are currently on the program, visit the D-Learn section on the Hub to sign up today!
Laura, Disney Education Team