When you find yourself in a room with some of the most incredible and inspiring people you have ever met, how do you make the most of it?
This week I sat in a room with some of the most incredible and inspiring young individuals I have ever met. In one-way or another, they are all changing the world through social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
The platform is called the Nexus Australian Youth Summit where young and passionate people gather to explore, create and collaborate; explore the world’s most pertinent social issues, create and discover innovative pathways for change and discuss effective ways to collaborate for greater impact.
Rachel Cohen Gerrol, co-founder of the Nexus Global Youth Summit summed it up perfectly when she said the people in the room demonstrate to the world “the power one person has to make a significant impact.”
I am still buzzing and also feeling somewhat overwhelmed by all the new connections I have made, ideas I have discussed, the potential for collaborations and referrals and all the business cards I have received (and at some point need to do something with!)
So how does one make the most of a unique opportunity like this?
Networking opportunities and events are powerful tools to forge long term and sustainable relationships. The key is to network with an open mind; never disregard someone because, at the outset, you can’t see a direct benefit. You never know who is in their network and whom they can refer you to. Rather than focusing on what you need, focus on what you can offer others and opportunities will naturally arise. And of course relationships require nurture so be sure to follow up and continue conversations.
Take advantage of opportunities to pitch your work, ideas and passions. You never know who is in the room and what opportunities are waiting to be discovered. I attended a session focused on unleashing the power of women and girls. We were asked to share our personal stories and the work we are doing with women. Being given the opportunity to talk about the passion and ambition that underpins Naked Ambition and our mission to see more women take on leadership roles in Australia meant that like-minded people were able to easily seek me out.
There is no better time to take advantage of the power and reach of social media than at a networking event. Take photos, join the conversations through hashtags, retweet, like other’s posts and post quotes from speakers that really resonate with you. For instance: ‘Holly Ransom says we need more young people to sit at the table’, ‘Gerardo Porteny who is championing the HeForShe Campaign says men should speak not on behalf of women but in support of women,’ and ‘Berry Liberman, co-founder of Small Giants asks us to think deeply about what success means to us’. By posting on social media, you can quickly raise your professional profile, connect and leverage from the right people and attract the career opportunities that are important to you.