The first networking event
After you've been in the game for a while it's easy to forget how terrifying networking events can be. The first one that I attended was hosted by the PWC Chair in Digital economy who gave a panel discussion with the theme "Disruptive Innovation: The hidden opportunity".
I can still remember the sickly feeling in the stomach as I fixed my hair in the toilet mirror before collecting my name badge. There is something really intimidating for a young person who has very limited experience to try and interact with professionals who are quite often old enough to be their parents.
I didn't know what to say. Many times I nothing relevant to contribute. However I made a goal in mind to introduce myself to at least 10 people in the room. And I did just that. Rather than talking like I tried listening. I asked questions about what they do, what they found interesting and what they would take away from that nights discussion.
Listening is an invaluable skill. It shields me from embarrassing myself and saying something stupid, it makes their memory of me pleasant (hopefully) and positions myself as an intelligent young woman starting her journey in the professional world.
The event also introduced me to two influencers in the Innovation space in Brisbane:
- Leeanne Enoch, QLD Minister for Innovation Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business.
- Marek Kowalkiewicz, PWC Chair in Digital Economy
I have still yet to meet Leeanne Enoch, but 6 month later Marek Become a judge for an event I attended! What I learnt is that rather than trying to sound impressive and flashy, and risk sounding like a fool, networking is a great way to learn. You wont learn from someone unless you introduce yourself, so put smile on and introduce yourself! Ask a question and listen to the answer.