Over the last few months, I’ve been working with some women leaders to start a Women in Public Policy organization on my campus. Shocker. On Thursday, we had our first “Building Your Kitchen Cabinet” Happy Hour at a hip and swanky LA bar/ restaurant. No, it didn't have anything to do with assembling a cabinet. It had everything to do with how to help women build a network of like-minded, smart and capable women that are willing to have your back when looking for a job, running for office or starting a non-profit.
The event could not have gone more fabulously. We had a great turnout of graduate, undergraduate and alumni women interested and involved in the fields of public policy, public health, philanthropy, law and public affairs. Complete with yummy drinks, delish aps, Women in Public Policy trivia and great conversation.
The reality is that we live in a society where who you know can make all the difference in the world. And it's the understatement of the century if you're in the field of politics. Therefore, we need to know how to tap into new and existing networks and find ways to build our "kitchen cabinet." A little shy about networking?
Here’s a Networking 12 step program, courtesy of the eHow Careers & Work Editor:
1. Stay in touch with people you like and respect even if they can't help you immediately. You don't want to go to someone only when you are desperate.
2. Talk to people you don't know everywhere you go. Cocktail parties and weddings are just the tip of the iceberg; don't forget about airplane rides, supermarket lines, sporting events, festivals, bookstores and so on.
3. Learn to ask "What do you do?" with comfort, sincerity and interest.
4. Become a better listener. Ask a question and then be quiet until you hear the answer.
5. Practice your own presentation of your skills. Learn more than one approach, whether frank or subtle.
6. Keep a great updated brochure, business card or other form of information about yourself on you at all times. Get comfortable handing out your card.
7. Take classes to improve your public speaking, body language and writing skills.
8. Join every networking club and association in your field.
9. Follow up on any lead, no matter how minor.
10. Remember people’s names and repeat it when you speak to them.
11. Keep track of people's birthdays and send them birthday notes.
12. Talk in terms of the other person's interests and find common experiences, activities, interests, etc.
Check out a video of the event here.