communication

NSPN’s “Together we can” Networking Tips

One of the key elements of business events, including conferences and other training sessions, is networking. Networking is essential to youth and family service providers as it connects peers to information and resources. Networking is a core component of NSPN and drives the “Your needs. Your network. Together we can!” motto.

Because networking is critical, we’ve provided ten networking tips below. If you’d like to discuss more ways to network with others, connect with us at info@nspnetwork.org.

  1. Be authentic.  Sometimes individuals use networking as a means to develop business connections.  NSPN believes networking should be about developing relationships. Relationships are deeper connections you create when you actually care about the success of each other and not just using each other as a “business connection.”
  2. Know who you are. When someone asks about your organization, do you know how to answer this question – quickly? Work with your supervisor or marketing team to learn your organization’s elevator pitch. This pitch offers cues to individuals and encourages them to invest their time in you.
  3. Re-connect. Sometimes, it’s easier to start connecting by re-connecting. If you see a familiar face or someone you know and haven’t seen since last year – say hi. Get caught up with what you’ve both been up to.  Make sure to jot their number down and check in from time to time.
  4. Own your awkwardness.  If you’re awkward, own it. You’re not the only one that can sense you’re uncomfortable. Say it out loud, “I’m sorry, I’m so awkward at this! But I really want to connect with you because we have this in common – do you have a second?” Owning your awkwardness lightens the conversation early so everyone can focus on what’s actually important. Chances are – they’re uncomfortable with networking too and you both will be relieved.
  5. Small talk is OK. Sometimes, it’s easier to have some conversation starters ready. It’s as easy as just saying hello, talking about the weather, or offering a compliment. Asking for advice opens the door for great conversation as well.
  6. Communicate.  “Is that your final answer?” There’s a ton of information out there! Don’t accept yes or no as a final answer. Ask open-ended questions. By doing so, someone has the opportunity to share new information you may find useful. Keep in mind; it’s important to be able to quickly articulate what information you’re interested in.
  7. Share and Receive.  Networking is a two-way street. Working together by sharing and listening will result in more effective conversations and results.
  8. Don’t leave empty-handed. When you meet someone, ask for their business card or contact information. Make a note on the back about the person you met so you can use it to build your relationship. Don’t forget to ask for their social media handle! Social networking is an easy way to keep in touch.
  9. Plan for the future. Don’t just say “nice knowing you.” Identify some ways you can help each other and plan a call or an email in the future to follow-through on supporting each other.
  10. Thank you. Showing appreciation for someone’s time and discussion goes a long way.  Relationships are built on support and respect.
NSPN-Together-We-Can-Networking-Tips
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What is a father?

By: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Communications Coordinator for National Safe Place Network

What is a father?  I did a quick search on the internet to see how “father” was defined and found “a man in relation to his natural child or children.”  I think I’m among great company when I say “it takes much more than being a man in relation to his natural child or children to be a father”.  I’ve asked around to see what being a father means.  To some, a father is a type of superhero because of their “special powers” and the protection they provide.  To others, fathers are also known to simply instill determination, courage, and integrity into the lives of their children.

I posed another question, “what do you admire most about your father?”  I thought I would receive similar adjectives than before, but had a heartfelt reaction when I heard one very simple, yet powerful statement “you didn’t give up on me”.  There seems to be a divide in our society where some experience essential teachings and see the sacrifice and there are others who only imagine a dream world of having a father in their life.  It is clear fatherhood isn’t defined by one simple action.  That’s great news!  It means you don’t have to let one action define “your” success of being a “father”!

When it boils down to it, something is going to impact the lives of children.  In my opinion, having someone present in their lives teaching them how to be the best person they can be… well, that is worthy of a celebration and a “Happy Father’s Day”.  Take the time to thank someone in your life that has made a difference, in a “fatherly” way.

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some great resources from the National Fatherhood Initiative:
Fatherhood Programshttp://www.fatherhood.org/
Free Resourceshttp://www.fatherhood.org/free-resources
The Father Factorhttp://www.fatherhood.org/the-father-factor

And just for funhttp://fulltrain.net/these-dads-start-strutting-from-the-garage-but-when-the-beat-drops-i-lose-it/

Father's Day Wordle