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NEXT: Recap + Tips

Young Professionals Connection Networking Q and A

August 5, 2014

At the NEXT: Your Network event last month, attendees were able to learn about tips for networking in a workshop presented by Danny Beyer. The event also featured past winners of both Juice Magazine and YPC’s awards.

For those who weren’t able to attend, these successful YPs have shared some advice for staying organized and how to build your network. What are your favorite networking tips? Share them in the comments below!

Networking Q&A

Q: What is your favorite question to break the ice while networking?

A: Danny Beyer: What do you do for fun?

Liz Lidgett: What is a typical day like for you?

LaVerne Greenfield: What did you have for dinner last night?

Laura Palmer: What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

Tiffany Tauscheck: I don't have a 'go to' line. Instead I try to build the conversation upon some type of common ground or observation.

Tyler Dingel: Having a rehearsed question to ask to break the ice is like having a go to pick up line, most of the time it comes off cheesy or uncomfortable.  Relax and don’t over think it.  Tyler Dingel

Amy Jennings: I will often ask “What interesting projects are you working on right now?” This helps me better understand the person’s role within an organization and what motivates him/her.

Chris Diebel: I often ask people what they did over the weekend. It gives me a quick sense of what their interests are and helps me tailor a conversation we can both relate to. There is usually some overlap that breaks the ice. Additionally, any commonalities help me remember new people. Chris Diebel

Romelle Slaughter: I do not have a favorite question to break the ice. The best ice breaker for me is to listen to the person speaking, learn a few facts/tidbits about them (what career they are in? How did they start in said career/job? Where did they grow up?) Learn one fact about the person, and then ask a simple question ("What are your responsibilities as an accountant?" to encourage them to talk more about themselves and what they do.

Susan Hatten: I tend to gravitate to the “where is your hometown” or “where did you grow up” questions. I find that (given our predominantly Iowa roots), I can usually find a commonality with someone based on where they’ve lived throughout their life. I am fortunate also to have friends and family sprinkled, worldwide, so I like to also challenge myself to recall links to certain geographic areas, thus leading to a larger conversation with a newly introduced colleague. 

Brenna Finnerty: Networking is all about making a connection with someone, and the best way to make a connection is to find common ground…which means, if you’re at the same event or activity, you’re already there! If you’re at a fundraiser, ask what their involvement is with the charity; if you’re at an event, ask if they’ve been to the venue before, etc. Once you start a conversation, chances are you’ll find you have much more in common than the initial topic, and the rest will take care of itself!

Q: What is your favorite app for staying organized and being efficient with your day?

A: Amy Jennings: I like Out of Milk. It’s a very easy-to-use app for grocery lists and other to-do lists.

Brenna Finnerty: I’m guessing my Outlook calendar isn’t cool enough to count as an “app”? J As embarrassing as it is to admit, my favorite way to stay organized is still to create a daily to-do list…in a notebook. You have to go with what works, and this works for me!

Chris Diebel: I can’t say that I use an app for organization. I’m relatively old school — Outlook runs my world.

Danny Beyer: I’m still pretty old school and really like the outlook calendar for staying organized.  Twitter and the list functioning inside of that app really makes it easy to use and stay up-to-date on current trends/media.

Laura Palmer: I'm all in with Google Calendar right now. With the recent self-employed change, Google Calendar is the best way for me to stay organized.

LaVerne Greenfield: I use Keep and Mint to stay organized. They are simple to use and work on multiple platforms.

Liz Lidgett: My iCal is everything to me. I have also recently gotten into Evernote and Trello to stay organize and work on projects with collaborators.

Romelle Slaughter: I do not have an answer to this question. I was unaware that there were apps to use as a way to stay organized and efficient. I manually use a calendar (on paper), and if necessary, add events/appointments on my iPhone calendar.

Susan Hatten: I use the app: Re.Minder, every day. Before I go to bed, I set my Re.Minders for the following day, or for later in the week. They then automatically pop up – not necessarily as appointments, but I send myself reminders for positive thinking, quotes that I enjoy, or a note about sending a friend a birthday card.

Tiffany Tauscheck: I love Groove Book. It helps me keep up with all of the photos I take of the city, events and my friends and family.

Tyler Dingel: My calendar.  I know it sounds simple but if a meeting, dentist appt, kid’s swimming lesson or night out with my wife is not on the calendar, there is a good chance I won’t be there. 

Q: Do you have any networking words of wisdom?

A: Danny Beyer: Networking doesn’t have to take place at a formal event.  We’re all networking all the time.  Use your relationships and “network” to make things happen or to help others.  People, especially Iowans and YPs want to help so give them the opportunity by sharing your dreams, goals, and desires.  You’ll be amazed what people are willing to do for others.

Chris Diebel: Whenever possible, network with new people long before you need something. Get to know them just for the sake of broadening your circles. Getting together with someone new when there is no agenda is refreshing to people that receive numerous solicitations. When you do have to make an ask, make a point to follow up with an offer. Someone recently asked for my help. At the end of the conversation, they asked me how they might be able to help me with any of my projects. It was such a pleasant surprise. It definitely left a wonderful impression.

Tyler Dingel: The best way to meet people is to utilize existing relationships.  Don’t worry about meeting everyone in the room.  Quality is better than quantity when you are building your network.

Brenna Finnerty: Despite what the word implies, networking shouldn’t be seen as “work.” Networking is an opportunity to meet new people, and meeting new people is fun. Enjoy it!

LaVerne Greenfield: The only variables that remains constant when networking is listening and following up. Never forget to listen and always try to follow up.

Susan Hatten: My favorite piece of advice for networking, business and personal connections came to me many years ago as I was beginning my career. I was given the quote; “Never underestimate the value of planting a seed.” I use this quote more as a motto for the way I live my life. I believe that we each have a gift to offer, and I’d like to think that one of mine is the ability to make connections and to connect others for the greater good.

Amy Jennings: Be willing and ready to extend your hand and introduce yourself. In a networking setting, I find that people often assume everyone at the event knows each other when the reality is usually that they also just met or aren’t well acquainted.

Liz Lidgett: Put yourself out there and don’t expect everyone to just come to you. I think it’s perfectly fine to go up to a group of people you don’t know and introduce yourself.

Laura Palmer: Send. More. Mail. Handwritten notes are personal, thoughtful and memorable. Write more of them.

Romelle Slaughter: The words of wisdom that I have is "listen". When it comes to networking, we get into a bad habit of talking and, unconsciously, dominating the conversation...without knowing what the other person does or their story. As an introvert and someone who have struggled with stuttering most of my life, I learn more about someone by listening, processing the information, and then asking questions or start a small conversation. Secondly, start small when it comes to networking. Your goal is not to talk to every single person in the room, or grab the ear of every VIP. I continue to feel intimidated by serial networkers and higher-profile individuals when I attend networking functions. Find a small group of people (2-4), introduce yourself, listen to them, pick up facts about them, and start from there.