Networking in Action with Own The Boardroom

Your network is the greatest resource you have.

Think about the last decision you made – did you use the opinions, reviews, or recommendations of others to make that decision? That’s the power of a network. Your network is an extension of you; they’ll vouch for you, they’ll refer you, they’ll help you.

Your network is the most efficient path to your goals. No one reaches success on their own.

Despite all the benefits of networking, most people seem to hate it. If you search the term in Google, you’ll find articles upon articles with titles like “networking for people who hate networking”.

Networking feels uncomfortable and scary; let’s change how we perceive it.  By the end of this you’ll feel confident and comfortable with networking. Are you ready?

No time to read? Click here to listen to the podcast version, or watch the presentation:

What exactly is networking?

As Devora Zack defines it in her book, Networking for People Who Hate Networking; “Building and maintaining connections with others for shared positive outcomes”.  No wonder you hate the idea of networking. Does that sound fun to you?

In plain speak, networking is meeting people and staying in touch.

You already have a network. Your friends, family, professors, coaches, anyone that you have a relationship with – that’s your network.

Photos via Northeastern University Networking in Action event

Photos via Northeastern University Networking in Action Event

Why bother networking?

It may sound basic but it’s true: Opportunities are all about who you know. Think about it:

Whether you’re buying something off Amazon, deciding whether to swipe left or right in a dating app, whether you’re trying a new restaurant – it’s all thanks to a mutual connection or recommendation.

That doesn’t change with business decisions. No matter how close to the top you are in a hierarchy, you’re always going to consider recommendations from people you trust.

According to an ABC News report from 2012, 80% of people find a new job through networking. It’s possible that number has increased to 85%, as identified by Lou Adler’s 2016 report.

Clearly, it’s going to be more efficient to network your way into a job than continue sending your resume into the black hole of online job applications.

How do I network?

We know networking is meeting people and staying in touch.  That can literally happen everywhere! For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on strategy during networking events.

When you’re at a networking event, everyone is there to meet other people. Yes, networking events feel formal and business-y; keep in mind that everyone is there expecting to talk to strangers and you’ll feel more comfortable introducing yourself.

Christopher Barrat’s TEDx talk, Successful Networking – The Ultimate Guide, explains four steps to building a successful business relationship

You have to move through these phases in order – no skipping ahead! When building your network, you focus on the first two; Know, Like.

You’re not pitching yourself. You’re not handing out resumes. You’re getting to know people as people, and the most effective way to do that is to barely talk at all. Listen to others, ask relevant follow up questions, give them your full attention.

Barrat sums it up as “Be interested. Not interesting”.

How do I know who to talk to?

Barrat’s TEDx talk also addresses tips on how to decide which conversation to join. Essentially, look for groups where there’s an open space for you to stand. Barrat refers to these as “open two’s” and “open threes”.

In the networking image below I identify open and closed groups. Look at the closed two – they’re facing each other directly, off to the side, they’re chatting. Compare that to the open two on the far right – they’re clearly engaged with each other but their body language is turned slightly outward which makes an opening for you to walk into.

But how do I do it?

Strategy is nice but you have to do it. Hopefully you feel a little better about the concept of networking at this point, but if you don’t – don’t worry. Networking is something that gets easier the more you do it.

So let’s talk tactics that will help you take those first steps:

It all starts with you walking up to a stranger, and introducing yourself. It sounds uncomfortable, but remember that everyone at networking events is expecting to meet strangers, so it’s socially acceptable in this context. I personally find that exiting conversations without feeling rude is the most difficult part.  In the full presentation, we discuss tried-and-true phrases (three each!) to use for entering a conversation and exiting a conversation. Scroll down to access the presentation for free and receive these concrete tips.

Remember, networking is meeting people and staying in touch. At a networking event you’re focusing on the first part – meeting people – and the goal is to give others the opportunity to know and like you. Likewise, you want to know and like them.

How do you feel now? Are you ready to network?

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This post is a summary of Own The Boardroom’s presentation that kicked-off Northeastern University’s Networking in Action. The event was organized by Michelle Dubow a Career Advisor at Northeastern University. This post was written by Erica Zahka CEO/Founder of Own The Boardroom.

Want to experience the full talk?  Access it here for free.

In this presentation you’ll learn:

  • How to think about networking so it’s not scary
  • The basics of networking; what it is, where it happens, do’s and don’t’s
  • Strategy for assessing which group(s) to approach first
  • Tried-and-true statements for introducing yourself and exiting conversations

OTB offers everything you need to make a powerful first impression: subscribe to learn how to present your best-self in any business situation and keep an eye on our suit options to rent business professional attire when you need it (women’s attire coming soon!).

 

Raising the Bar with SBAR: How to Communicate Effectively

One of the most intimidating parts of starting any new co-op is learning to communicate effectively with both your peers and your senior colleagues. Professionally and concisely explaining your views is difficult, and the potential for misunderstanding is high. In life or death situations that require a quick, informed response, improper communication can lead to unintended negative consequences. That’s why the healthcare community has almost universally adopted the SBAR procedure, which is designed to give the most relevant information as concisely as possible and take the guesswork out of decision making. Having a script to follow helps reduce the intimidation felt by more junior members of the team and helps increase confidence as well. SBAR is not just useful for healthcare workers, however. SBAR can help communication in every field, as long as you follow the steps below.

S- Situation

This is essentially the “why” of your phone call. What prompted you to pick up the phone in the first place? This is usually brief and confined to a sentence or two. The provider needs to know the main issue facing the team or the patient. The other major part of “S” is identifying yourself and your role. Don’t just launch into the problem without letting the person on the other end of the conversation know why they should be listening to you,

Real World Ex: “Hello John, this is Julia, the team leader for the testing program. We just ran the new software from your team and discovered a few bugs that need to be worked out before the launch.”

B- Background

This is where you provide the facts necessary to justify the call. It is also a way to reacquaint the provider or manager with the case. Managers and doctors work on many projects on a daily basis and may not remember every detail. Also, please be sure to have all relevant info in front of you when calling (vital signs, important dates, specific numbers or lab values, etc.). There is nothing worse than being asked a question and not having the answer. No one expects you to remember everything about a patient or product- but you must be able to look up the information quickly and accurately when required,

Real World Ex: “Jake from your team had sent us the Alpha software to test for any issues. The launch date is currently scheduled for Thursday. As we ran our basic testing we discovered that it tends to crash and is very slow with more than minimal use. Additionally, there are issues with security as we were easily able to obtain user passwords during our test.”

A- Assessment

This is where your knowledge comes into play. You know the patient or situation best and you likely have the knowledge to understand what needs to happen next. As a result, the provider or client will look to you for your assessment of the situation. You should have this analysis ready before calling the provider or manager.

Real World Ex: “I believe the software will need more time before launching due to the bugs presented.”

R- Recommendation

Based on the situation presented, what do you feel is the best course of action? Again, you should use your prior knowledge when deciding what to recommend and you should definitely know what your recommendation is before calling.

Real World Ex: “I think my team should run some additional testing before we give this to the client for approval. I’ll need at least three days to run the tests I need to feel comfortable with the software. In light of that, I believe the launch date should be postponed and the client notified so that my team can run the additional testing.”

SBAR is a tool that can be easily implemented to improve communication and ensure that team members receive the most pertinent information in a timely manner. It can be used over the phone, in an email, or in person to ensure that your views on every situation are communicated effectively. While SBAR is crucial for healthcare workers, it is relevant and needed in other areas as well. It saves time while making you seem knowledgeable and ready for any situation.

Julia Thompson is a second year Nursing major in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She works as a nursing assistant at South Shore Hospital and is currently on her first co-op at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the secretary of the Northeastern University Student Nurses’ Association and is also involved with Bouve Fellows. Feel free to contact her at thompson.jul@husky.neu.edu with any questions. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

BEYOND THE GREEN LINE is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works.’ Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area.’

You may have already read “Beyond the Green Line: San Francisco,” but we felt that the Silicon Valley deserved it’s own post entirely. The ‘Silicon Valley’ refers to the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area and includes San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley and was named as such because of the production of silicon semiconductors. The area is now known for its booming biotech and software industries and is often considered the heart of the technology world.

There are at least 20 Fortune 500 companies concentrated in the Silicon Valley area alone, depending on where you draw the boundaries. These include Apple, HP, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla and many of the other most innovative companies you can think of. However, if you’re more interested in working for a start-up than a major corporation, lucky for you there are literally thousands of startups based in the Silicon Valley.

In 2015, Northeastern University actually opened a Silicon Valley hub, offering advanced degrees in STEM fields through partnerships with several companies. Almost 400 NEU students have worked in a co-op role over the last year alone. There are also over 5,000 Northeastern Alumni currently living in the Bay Area, so you’d be in great company there.

NU alumna Ana Gvalia loves living in the San Francisco area. She shared:

“After graduation I moved to San Francisco to work at a startup to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation. The city is an amazing place to meet young, aspiring founders as well as seasoned, experienced business leaders. Every day I learn something new and everyday is a new adventure!”

 

Food and Drink:

  • There are 22 wineries to visit in the Santa Clara Valley
  • Try “gourmet” ramen, made popular first by Orenchi Ramen
  • Enjoy very fresh food thanks to the growing farm-to-table trend
  • Several funded startups are even developing meal replacements that are gaining popularity

Culture:

  • Visit the museums – there are several technical museums like the Computer History
  • Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Go to the Ballet San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley
  • Learn about traditional Japanese culture at the Japanese Obon festival
  • Stroll through the SoFA arts district

Activities:

  • Relax at a nearby beach, like Half Moon Bay
  • Root for the 49ers and the San Jose Sharks
  • Visit the Winchester Mystery House
  • Go to the San Pedro Square Market for local vendors and live music
  • Attend free lectures at Stanford
  • Visit the HP garage, the “birthplace of Silicon Valley”

Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers to apply!

Companies with Current Postings:
Airbnb: Software Engineer – Full Stack, Job ID 181535
Apple: Software Engineer – Data Scientist, Job ID 1821887
Cisco: Full Stack/Backend Engineer, Job ID 1821882
Dropbox: Product Designer, Job ID 1821705
Facebook: Data Scientist – Analytics, Job ID 1821699;
Software Engineer – Network, Job ID 1821701
Github: Git Infrastructure Engineer, Job ID 181704
Google/Alphabet: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821695;
Credit Research Analyst, Job ID 1821696
GoPro: Software Engineer – Media Discovery, Job ID 182163
Lyft: Business Intelligence Engineer, Job ID 1819885
Pandora: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821707
Plethora: Prototype Machinist & Programmer, Job ID 1821372
Quantcast: Software Engineer, Job ID 1816127
Twitter: Data Scientist – Ads Marketplace, Job ID 1821702
Visa: Business Development Analyst, Job ID 1819880

Additional Companies:
Box
Chegg
eBay
Sun Microsystems

Coming up Soon: Beyond the Green Line – Denver!
We want your feedback!
Feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or a particular city you’d like us to profile. If you’d like to have your photos considered for the next post, send over your Denver photos now!
This post was authored by Molly Osmulski, a third year Northeastern student. Molly is working toward a degree in Marketing with a minor in International Affairs. She works part time at the Northeastern Career Development office and has previously completed a co-op at Travel + Leisure Magazine in NYC and has studied abroad at the London School of Economics. When she is not studying or searching for her next co-op, she loves travelling, thrift shopping and trying new foods. You can contact her at osmulski.m@husky.neu.edu.

Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimhandy/2012/05/30/what-is-it-like-to-live-in-silicon-valley/2/#532e6ac16e9c
http://www.businessinsider.com/tech-startups-will-never-leave-silicon-valley-heres-why-2015-12