Event Recap: May 2015 "Networking with a Twist" – Putting on a Brave Face

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Most people look at networking as something that is painful but necessary, and for a long time, I shared that sentiment. When I first started working in the nonprofit sector, I found networking to be intimidating. With a little more practice, I now find it more enjoyable, and I have learned that the best professional connections are made when you can relate to someone in person.

Most people look at networking as something that is painful but necessary, and for a long time, I shared that sentiment. When I first started working in the nonprofit sector, I found networking to be intimidating. With a little more practice, I now find it more enjoyable, and I have learned that the best professional connections are made when you can relate to someone in person.

At the May 19 "Networking with a Twist" event hosted by YNPN Boston, attendees were given a bingo board with each square listing an action or description. The goal was to fill the board by meeting people who fit those descriptions. For example, one square read, "Takes the orange line to work." It was up to attendees to meet and find someone who fits the bill. This type of icebreaker encourages low-pressure, free-flowing conversation.

A few tips and takeaways from the night:

  • Put on a brave face, even if you are uncomfortable. At the event, I met someone who shared his uneasiness about networking. I was surprised because he did not seem uncomfortable at all. This reassured me that even the most confident-seeming people can be self-conscious when it comes to speaking with someone they do not know.
  • If the conversation isn't going well, don't let it get you down. Chances are that the person you're speaking with is more worried about the impression he/she left on you than the impression you left on him/her.
  • Try making light of the situation and cracking a joke, even if it's at your own expense. I've had my fair share of flops, but making people laugh is the easiest way to make everyone – yourself included – feel comfortable.

"Networking with a Twist" was a great opportunity to get to know other nonprofit professionals in the area. It’s easier to network with people when you share a passion for making an impact in the/your community. See you at the next YNPN Boston event!

Written by Kristen Coco: Kristen serves on the YNPN Boston Programming and Events team. She graduated from Clemson University in 2012 with a dual degree in sociology and communications studies and currently works as a development associate at The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer.


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