Building Those Relationships

Some tips for increasing our network given to us by MOR include:

  • Make a point to connect with people
  • Show up a few minutes early at meetings, walk out with someone different, engage with others more readily
  • Ask people how they are doing and listen
  • Have a cup of coffee with someone or go to lunch
  • Take your employee to breakfast on his or her anniversary

After a meeting, conference or other social gathering MOR suggest you reflect on the following:

  • What kind of energy do you feel you brought to the room?
  • What image are you conveying? What is the image you want to convey?
  • How are you interacting with others? What impression are you making?
  • Think about your voice, tone and projection. Do they convey the image you want?

Since I just came back from #aln14 this is a perfect time for me to reflect on my presence and networking. I had the perfect opportunity to “put it into action” since I was working in the Technology Test Kitchen. This event consisted of talking with faculty, instructional designers and administrators about how they would like to use technology, what problems they were having and what their goals were. I had three full days of opportunity and sometimes I was more successful than others. We were set up in a corner of the room where the vendor showcase was so there were people who were intentionally stopping by and those who were just strolling along. While some people did the initiating most people walked by looking and wondering what was going on. I “read” these people as someone who is looking to be asked to join in. This was great practice for reaching out and initiating. I had the opportunity to connect with all kinds of people and practice inquiring, investing and in many cases influencing. Now that I am back it is time to reflect on my presence.

I observed my actions and those of the other “chefs” when thinking about what energy we each brought to the room. One of the great joys of working on a team is the different skills and energies we each brought to the room. Some were silly, some were serious and others were in between. I think of myself as in between. I’m not the one who will jump up and down and do something crazy silly, but I  am also not the one who is all business. I think my energy was to make people feel welcome, and that this was a “safe place” to ask questions, play and experiment. I’ve been told that I have a very positive energy, and that I make people feel comfortable. My skill was getting people to tell their story and engage. I was the “gatherer” who invited people in and communicated why they would want to spend time in this space. After hearing their story I would either help them or send them to one of the other “chefs” who better fit their area of interest.

When I think about the image I want to convey, it is of someone who is easily approachable. I want to come across as someone who is confident and knowledgeable but not a “know it all”. Based on my interactions and feedback I’ve gotten from others I think this is the image I convey.

I will continue to keep these questions in mind as I find myself in a range of situations and reflect on my presence in different contexts.

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